EAST LANSING, Mich. — It’s sad how Michigan State knew about the sexual misconduct of Larry Nassar but didn’t do anything, said David Mittleman, attorney who represents 37 victims of Larry Nassar.
Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison, three counts of 20 years each, for child pornography. He has seven counts against him and is waiting for trail to hear his sentencing for the other counts that he has not been charged for.
Nassar sexually assaulted and abused members of the Michigan State University gymnastics team and members of the USA Olympic gymnastics team.
“This is the biggest institutional sexual assault scandal in modern day history,” said Mittleman.
Holly Ryan, a former MSU gymnast, met Nassar and, although she was never a victim of Nassar’s, she still believes that MSU should be held accountable for their actions.
“They sat us in a room and told us not to say anything,” said Ryan. “They said, ‘you’re lucky to even see him.'”
Ryan stated that her coach, Kathie Klages, was under investigation for knowing the actions that Nassar committed during his time at Michigan State. She later resigned immediately
While discussing with Mittleman, he showed a letter written from a victim in 2014 that asked President Simon to do something about this case.
“Where is the integrity?” She asked in her letter and attached a selfie with a piece of paper that stated the same thing. President Lou Anna K. Simon did not do anything for these students and women and continued to sweep it under the rug, said Mittleman.
“I want to see MSU be more transparent,” he said.
Many have equated this scandal to Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal that happened years ago.
“This is five times the size in sheer numbers [than that of PSU],” said Mittleman. Although what happened at PSU was a major football team and dealt with younger boys –this scandal happened with hundreds and thousands of women through gymnastics.
Coming forward is an issue that many women have faced about this subject matter.
“What did USA Gymnastics do and Larry Nassar do to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up,” said Aly Raisman, an Olympic gymnast on 60 Minutes that came forward about being abused by Nassar earlier this year.
“I am angry,” she said.
Michigan State needs to take more responsibility for this subject.
Focal Point tried to reach out to MSU Spokesperson Jason Cody, but the calls were unanswered.
“Who knew what and when?” said Mittleman.
Ryan stated that the gymnasts weren’t allowed to speak of anything about this subject matter.
“I think they need to be more transparent,” he said. “Come out of denial, admit responsibility and become accountable.”
Ryan agreed. She said that someone needs to bring up the fact that this scandal is not receiving the attention and news that it deserves.
“They are trying to divert the attention away from MSU,” she said.
Many publications like the Lansing State Journal have called for the resignation of President Simon. However, the administration has pledged full support behind her.
The president of Penn State at the time, Graham Spanier, has received jail time for his knowledge during the Sandusky case and for child endangerment. It’s time for President Simon to take responsibility of her knowledge of this scandal and come out of denial.