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Lawyer on Charges Against Ex-MSU President: 'Baseless'

Lou Anna Simon accused of making false or misleading statements in Larry Nassar case
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2018 9:25 AM CST
In this June 5, 2018, file photo, former Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon testifies before a Senate subcommittee in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(Newser) – She was the first woman president at Michigan State University, but her career there ended in the aftermath of Larry Nassar. Now Lou Anna Simon has a new problem to deal with: The Lansing State Journal reports she's the third person from MSU to be hit with charges from the Michigan Attorney General's Office during its investigation into MSU's role in the Nassar scandal. The two felony and two misdemeanor counts against Simon, 71, center on her allegedly lying during discussions with Michigan State Police in May, during which she claimed "she was not aware of the nature of the complaint" that prompted a 2014 Title IX investigation into Nassar, per court records. She also reportedly said she knew of a 2014 review of "a sports medicine doc," though she actually knew it was Nassar who was being investigated. A Simon attorney calls the charges "completely baseless."

Former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages and ex-MSU Dean William Strampel have also been charged—Klages for lying about what she knew, and Strampel for willful neglect regarding Nassar, as well as for unrelated sexual misconduct. Deadspin notes that Simon has remained on the MSU roster as a tenured professor, with her full salary of $750,000 for a year of "research leave." Interim MSU President John Engler says she's now on "an immediate leave of absence, without pay, to focus on her legal situation." The Journal reports MSU will pay for her legal fees, as it has been doing in part for Klages and Strampel. "I think [the charges against Simon are] the first step in a long process of holding people at the institution accountable for what happened here," an organizer with the Reclaim MSU student-faculty group says. Simon could see up to four years behind bars if convicted. (How Nassar got away with it for so long.)

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