EAST LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Saturday announced a special prosecutor to investigate "systemic issues with sexual misconduct at Michigan State."
William Forsyth, a retired Kent County prosecutor, will serve as the independent special prosecutor, Schuette said. The Michigan State Police will also provide assistance with any criminal issues that arise as part of the investigation, he said.
“It is abundantly clear that a full and complete investigation of what happened at Michigan State University, from the president’s office down, is required," Schuette said.
Schuette said that his office's review of MSU has been going on for some time. Friday was the first time he confirmed that investigation was ongoing.
“My department and this investigation will find out who knew what and when, who took action, who failed to take action, what did or did not happen and what should have happened,” he said.
The involvement of the Michigan State Police and Schuette's office comes after many months of calls for an independent investigation into how MSU addressed allegations against former MSU doctor Larry Nassar going back two decades.
During the 20-minute press conference, Schuette spent much of the time outlining how his office prosecuted Nassar. The process began, according to Schuette, in October of 2016 when MSU Police Chief Jim Dunlap asked for assistance determining which charges to request against Nassar. The university police department led the criminal investigation that resulted in state charges against Nassar.
Schuette in February of 2017 deferred questions about possible criminal charges for other MSU employees who may have known about Nassar's sexual assaults to Patrick Fitzgerald, an attorney MSU hired to conduct its own review.
At the time, Schuette said, "Our job is reviewing the criminal actions of Larry Nassar, period."
MSU said at the time the purpose of Fitzgerald's review was not to determine criminal charges.
Schuette spent several minutes praising the women who gave statements as part of Nassar's sentencing in Ingham County Circuit Court earlier this month.
“The voice of all these young women have changed Michigan, our state, and changed MSU forever," he said.
Schuette offered few details on how his investigation of MSU will proceed, and did not take questions from reporters. He said his office will send a letter to Fitzgerald seeking all information gathered as part of the review he conducted for the university.
He said the university's response "to this simple request will speak volumes."
He also said the result of his office's investigation will be a report that will be transparent and made available to the public.
He briefly touched on the requests by MSU's Board of Trustees a week ago for an investigation by his office.
"I don't need advice from the Board of Trustees at MSU about how to conduct an investigation," Schuette said. "Frankly, they should be the last ones to be providing advice, given their conduct throughout this entire episode."
Schuette, who is a Republican candidate for governor, added that the board's conduct in response to Nassar, "Speaks for itself."
MSU President Lou Anna Simon resigned Wednesday, and Athletic Director Mark Hollis retired on Friday. Also on Friday the MSU Board of Trustees accepted Simon's resignation and appointed board secretary and university Vice-President Bill Beekman to handle day to day operations while a search is conducted for an interim president.
Earlier this week, MSU learned via a letter from the NCAA that its athletic department is under investigation for potential rule violations in connection with Nassar. Lawmakers are also demanding records related to MSU's investigations of Nassar between 2014 and 2017 be handed over in the next two weeks.
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