The U.S. Department of Education has just announced a $4.5 million fine against Michigan State University for its “systemic failure” to address the sexual abuse committed by Larry Nassar, the MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor who admitted to sexually assaulting his patients for decades.
Education Secretary Betsy Devos, who ordered two investigations into the scandal, called MSU’s handling of Nassar “abhorrent.” The fine is meant to penalize the university for its mishandling of two decades worth of sexual abuse allegations against the now-disgraced doctor.
“The crimes for which Larry Nassar and [former Michigan State dean] William Strampel have been convicted are disgusting and unimaginable. So, too, was the university’s response to their crimes. This must not happen again — there or anywhere else,” Devos said on a call with reporters.
Nassar was sentenced last year to up to 175 years in prison for abusing dozens of girls and young women under the guise of providing medical treatment.
He also received a separate sentence of up to 125 years for the abuse and another 60-year federal prison term for child pornography.
Strampel, the former dean, led the university’s college of osteopathic medicine during Nassar’s tenure at the school. In June, he was convicted of two counts of willful neglect of duty and one count of felony misconduct for sexually harassing female students in his own right.
According to the Detroit Free Press, MSU settled other lawsuits by more than 300 Nassar survivors with a payment $500 Million, and claims there are still other lawsuits are pending from more than 100 Nassar Survivors.
MSU has said in legal filings that it shouldn’t be held legally responsible for Nassar’s actions.