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Interim MSU Prez 'Makes Catholic Bishops Look Enlightened'

Backlash follows John Engler's comments on assault survivors
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2019 11:20 AM CST
MSU Interim President John Engler speaks during on Capitol Hill on July 24, 2018.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – The last thing Michigan State University needs is another controversy. Its interim president has created one anyway with comments suggesting some of Larry Nassar's sexual assault victims crave the spotlight. "In some ways [survivors who haven't been in the spotlight] have been able to deal with this better than the ones who've been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition," John Engler, who served as state governor from 1991 to 2003, told the Detroit News in an interview published Friday. "He makes Catholic bishops look enlightened in terms of their approach to sexual assault," responds lawyer John Manly, who represents 180 of Nassar's accusers, per the New York Times.

Client Rachael Denhollander says Engler's comments are evidence of "the lack of knowledge that he has about sexual abuse and the consequences of it." Dianne Byrum, chair of the MSU Board of Trustees, also criticizes the comments, per the Chronicle of Higher Education, while board member Brian Mosallam suggests a repeat of his attempt to get 70-year-old Engler fired last June. "Clearly he is not the man fit to lead [MSU]," he says, per the Times. "I am working closely with my colleagues to consider the next steps." (MSU was just accused of fostering "a culture of indifference toward sexual assault.")

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