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Here's what you need to know about the arrest of Nassar's former boss, and what it means for MSU

Mugshot of Dr. William Strampel
Michigan Attorney General's office
Dr. William Strampel is the former Dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, and was Larry Nassar's boss.

The fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University continues. Nassar’s boss and former Dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, William Strampel, was arrested late Monday and arraigned Tuesday on felony and misdemeanor charges.

Special Prosecutor Bill Forsythe held a brief press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the allegations against Strampel, and confirmed the details in the police affidavit. Forsythe is leading the attorney general’s probe into MSU’s role in the Nassar case.

Strampel, 70, was arraigned Tuesday on one felony -- misconduct of a public official - and three misdemeanors - one count Criminal Sexual Conduct in the 4th degree and two counts willful neglect of duty.

Michigan Radio’s Cheyna Roth was in court and at the press conference, and she joined Stateside to give a breakdown of the charges against Strampel.

Listen to the full interview above.

What are the charges?

“Let’s start with the big one: the felony. This is a five-year felony, and it’s misconduct of a public official. The basis for this is actually quite a bit of behavior between Strampel and multiple female students at MSU.”

The allegations against Strampel include verbally degrading the appearance of female students, ranting that one student “needed to dress like a woman” and “that she was never going to make it in the profession if she did not dress sexier."

The felony charge also involves approximately 50 photos found on Strampel’s computer of nude and semi-nude women, including selfies of MSU students and other pornographic material.

The next charge, criminal sexual conduct in the 4th degree, is based on an accusation against Strampel that he groped the buttocks of one of the victims without her consent.

The two counts of willful neglect of duty are where Nassar comes into the picture.

“Strampel is accused of essentially not following policies that were put into place after a Title IX investigation of Nassar. Strampel did not ... make sure Nassar used gloves during examinations, that he got patient consent of certain types of examinations, that there were other people in the room.”

The other neglect of duty count is focused on Strampel allegedly allowing Nassar to see patients after the Title IX complaint was filed and before the investigation was finished.

What this development means for MSU

Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells has been covering the Nassar story from the beginning. She joined Stateside to discuss what Strampel’s arrest means for Michigan State.

She says  MSU has argued for months that Nassar is the only one who committed a crime.

“These are very damning charges if they are in fact true. MSU’s argument that all along with this Larry Nassar case, this has been just one very bad guy acting very independently with no institutional cover.”

The charges against Strampel allege exactly the opposite, and that his actions or lack of responsibility directly allowed Nassar to continue assaulting many women after he was reinstated.

“They’re basically saying if Strampel had done his job and actually taken some time to follow up on whether Nassar had a chaperone present, whether he was getting actual consent from patients, whether he was even wearing gloves, that there was a lot of people who wouldn’t have been sexually abused.”

There are more than 140 women and girls suing MSU for allowing Nassar to continue, and these charges give them a stronger case.

“What it also potentially does, and we don’t know the details on this and won’t for a while, is that it also makes it harder potentially for MSU to fund any kind of settlement they get from those women through their insurance.”

Strampel took medical leave from his position as dean in December 2017, and MSU Interim President John Engler is in the process of stripping Strampel of tenure.

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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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