Ex-Michigan State president arraigned on charges of lying to police over Larry Nassar investigation
UPDATE: Nov. 27, 2018: Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon was arraigned Monday in a district court on four charges alleging she lied to police about her knowledge of abuses by former sports doctor Larry Nassar, The Detroit News reported. One of her lawyers called the charges "false" and "ridiculous" and said Simon plans to plead not guilty. A probable cause conference is set for Dec. 18, at which point a preliminary exam date will be established.
- Simon, who stepped down as president of Michigan State University earlier this year, was charged Nov. 20 in a district court with lying to police in regard to the university's handling of sexual assault allegations against former sports doctor Larry Nassar, according to the Lansing State Journal.
- She faces two felony and two misdemeanor counts. If convicted she could be sentenced up to four years in prison and face a $5,000 fine.
- Simon is the third person charged in the alleged cover-up. Former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages and William Strampel, a former osteopathic medicine dean who was one of Nassar's bosses, were also charged.
Simon is one of several college leaders to resign amid controversy over how their institutions handled sexual misconduct allegations. As the charges indicate, stepping down or being forced out does not exempt them from accountability.
Legal experts told ESPN that the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno could have faced charges for perjury, conspiracy and child endangerment had he lived to see the end of the child sex abuse scandal that rocked the university in 2011 and for years to follow.
Paterno died in January 2012, six months before the trial against Jerry Sandusky, an assistant coach, began. Records show Paterno was aware of the abuses by Sandusky.
In both cases, evidence indicates college leaders knew of abuses long before legal action was taken, though the degree to which they acknowledged and addressed them internally varies.
At least 14 Michigan State representatives were aware of Nassar's conduct in the two decades leading up to his arrest near the end of 2016, The Detroit News reported. Among them was Simon, who said she became aware of the situation through a Title IX complaint in 2014 that listed an unnamed physician. Complaints against Nassar date back to 1992.
Simon resigned hours after Nassar was sentenced, according to The Detroit News. She faced outcry from students and lawmakers pushing her to step down in response to the university's handling of the situation. A nonbinding resolution approved in the state House of Representatives called for Simon's firing by the board if she didn't voluntarily leave her post.
The university faces 500 lawsuits involving Nassar. It has established a $500 million settlement fund for its victims, with $425 million for current claimants and $75 million for future claimants.
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