MSU hires outside company to investigate sexual assault complaints

Michigan State University has hired an outside investigative firm to look into complaints of sexual assault and misconduct.

The university says a company called Kroll will serve as an “independent third party” to investigate claims filed until Title IX, a federal policy that deals with sexual assault and harassment claims in educational settings.

The company will start reviewing complaints immediately.

The move comes in the wake of criticism of MSU’s handling of sexual assault cases – the most prominent ones involving Larry Nassar.

The former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor has been accused of assaulting more than 260 women and girls under the guise of treatment.

He pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges as well as child pornography charges and is currently in a federal prison in Arizona.

MSU says the number of complaints at its Office of Institutional Equity has grown by 35 percent from the 2015-16 school year to the 2016-17 school year and that they expect the numbers to continue to grow.

Because of the growing number of complaints, the university says it takes 80 days for its nine investigators to respond to the average complaint.

“We are taking active steps to make MSU a shining example of Title IX compliance; 80 days is not only far too long for a response to a complaint, it’s totally unacceptable,” Interim President John Engler said in a press release. “We owe it to all those who have been assaulted and had the bravery to step forward to have a safer MSU be their legacy.”

Anyone who wants to make a report of sexual violence or misconduct can do it online at www.oie.msu.edu or call (517) 353-3922. They can also call MSU Police at (517) 355-2221.

MSU says it will also offer free and confidential help to victims through their sexual assault program.