Holding back tears, Meridian Township's manager apologized to the woman whose 2004 sexual assault complaint against Larry Nassar was never forwarded to prosecutors.

“On behalf of the community, our police department, to you, Brianne, we failed you,” Manager Frank Walsh said. “We let you down.”

Walsh and Police Chief Dave Hall spent more than an hour discussing the 2004 case that might have stopped the disgraced doctor 14 years ago, as well as initiatives to prevent future mishandling of sexual assault cases.

"We know we can be better," Walsh said. "We will be better and we are sorry that we were manipulated and deceived back in 2004.”

At the age of 17, Randall-Gay approached Meridian Township police with concerns about a recent appointment with Nassar.

Randall-Gay told police that during an appointment for scoliosis Nassar touched her vagina, without warning her in advance, and massaged her breasts for several minutes. According to the police report, when Nassar massaged her buttocks, he said, “I bet people at physical therapy don’t do this.”

Randall-Gay told her mother, who took her to Meridian Township police. She related the appointment to police and had a rape kit processed at Sparrow Hospital.

Police eventually told Randall-Gay’s mother they wouldn’t forward the investigation to prosecutors because Nassar told them his technique was a legitimate medical procedure.

Nearly a decade would pass before Michigan State University investigated Nassar again following a sexual assault allegation in 2014. That investigation was forwarded to prosecutors, who declined to press charges. MSU's own Title IX office cleared Nassar that year.

Nassar wasn’t charged until 2016, shortly after Rachael Denhollander reported him to MSU police.

Walsh and Hall said they called Randall-Gay on Jan. 19, halfway through Nassar's seven-day sentencing in Ingham County, to apologize.

Communicating by Skype on Thursday, Randall-Gay said the Jan. 19 call was one she'd been waiting for for 14 years.

"I felt like my complaint was ignored," she said. "I felt like I was ignored."

When Hall and Walsh learned Randall-Gay wanted to speak at Nassar's sentencing, they offered to pay for her $1,385 ticket from Seattle to Michigan. Both Hall and Walsh sat with Randall-Gay when she addressed Nassar at his sentencing.

"We wish we had this one back," Hall said Thursday.

Hall said the police department has three initiatives it will be implementing in the wake of Randall-Gay's case. The department will provide more training for officers handling criminal sexual conduct investigations, is reviewing all criminal sexual conduct reports taken between 2000 and 2018, and will increase educational outreach to people, especially youth, on recognizing and reporting sexual assault.

"All (criminal sexual assault) reports that we produce will have a sign-off by me," Hall said. "I will look at every report….Just to make sure we’re doing what we say we’re doing.”

Walsh said, upon learning of the stalled investigation from 2004, he considered the future of both Hall's and Detective Andrew McCready's jobs. McCready was the lead investigator on Randall-Gay's case in 2004.

Both have good, longstanding records with the department, Walsh said, and "they're going to remain on the force." He said McCready, who was not present at the press conference, has apologized privately to Randall-Gay.

"He's been a really good officer for us," Walsh said of McCready.

Since the revelations about Nassar came to light, McCready's been in "sheer torment" about what might have happened, Walsh said.

Hall said police did not meet with Nassar on MSU grounds, nor did they report the investigation to MSU officials.

"I believe that they (the officers) didn’t recognize the connection," Hall said.

Walsh said Randall-Gay has no pending civil litigation against the township currently, and he does not believe the township will be a target of Attorney General Bill Schuette's investigation of MSU.

Nassar, 54, was sentenced last week to between 40 and 175 years by Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. In December, a federal judge sentenced him to 60 years in prison for three child pornography charges. His sentencing in Eaton County began Wednesday.

An Indianapolis Star investigation of USA Gymnastics, begun in 2016, uncovered widespread sexual abuse of athletes by coaches and others and failures to alert authorities. The IndyStar, part of the USA TODAY Network, revealed the first allegations of abuse by Larry Nassar.

Contact Reporter Beth LeBlanc at 517-377-1167 or eleblanc@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @LSJBethLeBlanc.