MSU president apologizes to Nassar victims; university creates $10 million counseling fund

EAST LANSING, MICH. - Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon apologized to victims of Larry Nassar during a Board of Trustees meeting on Friday.

Several of the women who say the former MSU doctor sexually assaulted them were in the room to hear it. 

"I'm truly sorry for the abuse you've suffered, the pain it's caused and the pain it continues to cause today," Simon said. "I'm sorry a physician who called himself a Spartan so utterly betrayed your trust and everything the university stands for. 

At least 125 women have made criminal complaints against Nassar, who was an esteemed sports medicine doctor for both MSU and USA Gymnastics for two decades. He was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges earlier this month. He pleaded guilty in November to multiple counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Simon expressed gratitude toward to the victims, saying their courage in coming forward helped to put him behind bars.

It wasn't enough for Kaylee Lorincz, called "Victim E" in Nassar's Ingham County criminal case. She and her mother, Lisa Lorincz, addressed Simon and the board during the meeting, calling for an independent investigation into who knew what about Nassar prior to his arrest. 

"I do not feel that the apology from Lou Anna Simon was heartfelt," Kaylee Lorincz said after the meeting.

Simon wasn't the only MSU official to comment on Nassar and his victims during the meeting. 

MSU Trustee Brian Mossallum conceded that messages from the university to the victims and the MSU community at large may have felt canned and tone deaf.

However, "for anybody to think trustees worried about protecting brand over someone’s daughter is ludicrous," he said. "Have comfort that I hear you and we are watching."

Mossallum announced during the meeting that the compensation committee had endorsed Simon's work as president and offered her a $150,000 raise. Simon declined, instead asking the board to direct that money to a fund her in and her husband's name in support of first-generation college students. 

University spokesman Jason Cody said the $150,000 will not be added to Simon's compensation in future years. 

Brian Breslin, chair of the MSU Board of Trustees, also announced the creation of a $10 million fund that will be used for counseling and mental health services for Nassar's victims.

Some two dozen protestors attended the meeting, many wearing T-shirts associated with the #MeTooMSU movement.

When the meeting ended, Simon left the room without taking questions from reporters. 

Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges earlier this month. He is set to be sentenced next month on the criminal sexual conduct charges.


Larissa Boyce addresses Michigan State University failings on Larry Nassar following his federal sentencing on child pornography charges Thursday, Dec. 7. (Justin A. Hinkley/Lansing State Journal)

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© 2017 Lansing State Journal


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