Michigan State University’s former president is facing charges for allegedly lying about her knowledge regarding former athletic doctor Larry Nassar’s sex abuse scandal.
Lou Anna Simon was charged on four counts of lying to a peace officer. Two were felony charges that can carry up to four years of prison time and a $5,000 fine if Simon is convicted. The other two were misdemeanor charges, The Detroit News reported. The charges make her the highest-ranking university official to face criminal prosecution so far in the case.
“When asked about whether she was aware of any investigation involving Larry Nassar prior to 2016, she falsely or misleadingly said that ‘I was aware that in 2014 there was a sports medicine doc who was subject to a review’ when in fact she knew it was Larry Nassar who was the subject of the 2014 MSU Title IX investigation into the Amanda Thomashow complaint,” a warrant filed in Eaton County’s district court said, The Detroit News reported. (RELATED: MSU Claims That Larry Nassar Didn’t Violate NCAA Rules)
Lee Silver, Simon’s lawyer, said the charges were “completely baseless” and had “no merit whatsoever,” according to The Detroit News.
She remained a professor at MSU, according to Inside Higher Ed.
“She is taking an immediate leave of absence, without pay, to focus on her legal situation,” MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Lindsey Lemke, one of the survivors abused by Nassar, tweeted a statement, saying Simon “knew all along that Nassar should not have been treating us.”
Statement on Lou Anna K. Simon’s Arrest: pic.twitter.com/ItqTjHnXCV
— Lindsey Lemke (@lindseylemke) November 20, 2018
Nassar’s former boss William Strampel and former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages have already been charged in relation to the scandal, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Nassar, who was also a former Team USA gymnastics doctor, pleaded guilty to 10 sexual assault charges. The trial featured more than 150 statements from women abused by the supposed medical examinations. Gold medal Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber were among some of the accusers.
Victims of Nassar’s sexual abuse reached a $500 million settlement with MSU in May.
Silver did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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