LANSING, MICH. - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is calling on Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon to release the findings of an internal investigation into the actions of former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
In a letter dated Monday, Schuette asks Simon to provide his office with findings of “the internal review that former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is conducting into the actions of Lawrence Nassar while employed by Michigan State University."
Andrea Bitely, a Schuette spokeswoman, confirmed the letter was delivered to Simon's office Monday but declined to comment further.
"It speaks for itself," she said.
MSU spokesman Jason Cody said the university has received the letter but has not yet had a chance to review it. He declined to comment further.
Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, now with Chicago law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates, was hired last February by the university, MSU previously said, to provide "guidance on how the university can best conduct the factual review so as to not interfere" with law enforcement investigations.
In his Monday letter, Schuette said the "Fitzgerald findings will be critical to understanding the full picture of what, if any, responsibility other persons may have had regarding Mr. Nassar's criminal conduct. Releasing the findings to the proper law enforcement authorities... is essential to ensure that a complete and thorough investigation into Mr. Nassar's actions is conducted."
The letter represents an about-face for Schuette, who in February said Nassar was the sole focus of his investigation.
“Our job is reviewing the criminal actions of Larry Nassar, period,” he said, after announcing 22 additional sexual assault charges against the fired doctor.
At least twice during that news conference, Schuette referred questions regarding the conduct of other university employees to MSU’s internal investigation team and to Patrick Fitzgerald.
But calls for an outside investigation at MSU have grown louder since Nassar last month pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct after hearings in Ingham and Eaton counties as part of a plea agreement with Schuette's office. At least 125 women have made criminal complaints and 140 have filed federal civil lawsuits related to Nassar.
In response to those calls, Cody, the MSU spokesman, said last month that the review was never designed to end in a report. Cody said "the university unequivocally denies" accusations from plaintiffs' attorneys suggesting a cover-up of misconduct by others at MSU.
"Moreover, MSU has consistently promised if it were to find any employee knew of and acquiesced in Nassar’s misconduct, the university would immediately report it to law enforcement," Cody said on Nov. 22, after Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts in Ingham County and some of his accusers held a news conference in Lansing.
Cody also said that day that the FBI, in conjunction with the MSU Police Department, conducted a joint investigation this year focused on "whether any university employee other than Nassar engaged in criminal conduct." He added that the results of that investigation were sent to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, and "We have no reason to believe that any criminal conduct was found."
Between 1997 and 2015 at least seven women or girls say they raised concerns about Nassar's actions to coaches, trainers, police or university officials.
Two women said in court documents they told an MSU coach, and one woman said she told three trainers. All said they did so before 2000.
Nassar was investigated twice by police but never charged, in 2014 and in 2004. In 2014, MSU's Title IX office, which deals with sexual assault and harassment complaints at the university, investigated Nassar.
During that investigation, the university relied on four medical experts who each worked for MSU and had close ties to Nassar. All four sided with Nassar, and the university cleared him.
In April, Simon announced plans to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the university's Title IX program.
In a statement at the time, she said experts have told her it's "virtually impossible to stop a determined sexual predator and pedophile," given the lengths they will go to hide their conduct.
Nassar, 54, will be sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids on three charges involving child pornography. He faces up to 60 years in prison on those charges, and up to life in prison on the charges in Eaton and Ingham counties. Sentencing hearings on those charges are set for January.
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© 2017 Lansing State Journal