She Knew about Larry Nassar in 2014, Michigan Says in Charging Former MSU President Lou Anna Simon

November 21, 2018, 12:09 AM UTC

A state prosecutor charged former Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon with lying to police about how early she knew of specific abuse allegations against Larry Nassar, an osteopathic doctor. Nassar pleaded guilty in two cases in 2017 on multiple charges of sexual assault of minors against young female gymnasts, many of them Olympic athletes or training for the Olympics, and of possession of child pornography.

Simon told state police in May 2018 that she wasn’t aware of a 2014 complaint that prompted a university investigation against Nassar, court documents say, and told police when asked about investigations of Nassar prior to 2016 that she only knew it was a “sports medicine doc.” Prosecutors allege both statements are false, and she was aware it was Nassar.

Simon resigned as MSU president in January 2018 hours after Nassar’s sentencing hearing at which 156 women and girls testified, and he received a term of 40 to 175 years in prison.

If convicted, Simon faces up to four years in prison. She’s the third person charged by a special prosecutor in the Michigan Attorney General’s Office as it examines what how MSU handled complaints about Nassar prior to the first mainstream reporting in September 2016 of sexual assault allegations against him.

As details of Nassar’s alleged abuse across 30 years of rank after rank of up-and-coming and world-renowned female gymnasts have come out in court, so too have the network of enablers that ignored or rejected claims made by girls, coaches, and parents about Nassar’s assaults.

Texas prosecutors indicted Steve Penny, former head of USA Gymnastics, on tampering with evidence in October. In June, those prosecutors indicted Debra Van Horn, a former trainer who worked alongside Nassar.

Nassar faces a number of additional criminal charges in multiple jurisdictions. Over 150 state and federal lawsuits so far have been filed against him and those accused of failing to take action on reports of abuse, including both individuals and institutions like MSU and USA Gymnastics.