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Judge won’t let two women testify at hearing for former MSU dean

Cheyna Roth
William Strampel in court.

There are new developments in the criminal case against a former dean of Michigan State University. A judge says two women cannot testify against William Strampel at a crucial hearing in June. Strampel is charged with using his position at MSU to try and get sexual favors from female students.

The prosecutors say they need the women to testify about lewd comments Strampel made to them while they were clinical skills models for the College of Osteopathic Medicine. They say it will show Strampel’s intent, but Judge Richard Ball wasn’t on board.

“No one ever comes forward like a defendant takes the stand at exam and says, ‘Yeah I did it and I meant to do it,’” Judge Ball said. “It’s always a matter of inferring intent.”

At a hearing in June, Ball will decide if there’s enough evidence against him to go to trial.  Ball says he doesn’t think he needs additional evidence to decide if the case should go to trial.

“It’s sort of difficult for me to understand why there needs to be further support,” said Ball commenting on the low standard of proof at a preliminary hearing.

The case against Strampel is also starting to take shape. Prosecutors say they have some recordings of Strampel’s interactions with victims.

“It is chilling to hear the dean of the school of osteopathic medicine to say to a student in a meeting that ‘I’m going to own you,’” said prosecutor Eric Restuccia.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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