Victims of Larry Nassar sue university over alleged ‘secret decisions’ in sex abuser’s case

The victims have accused MSU of holding secret votes that led to the university’s refusal to hand over more than 6,000 documents in the Nassar case

Andrea Blanco
Saturday 29 July 2023 21:53 BST
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Victims of convicted sex offender and former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar have sued the college over allegations that officials made “secret decisions” against releasing documents in the case.

The women and their relatives have accused MSU of holding secret votes that led to the university’s refusal to hand over more than 6,000 documents to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel‘s office. Ms Nessell led an investigation into what the school knew about the abuse perpetrated by Nassar, but the probe ended in 2021 because the university didn’t provide documents related to the scandal.

The victims said they are not seeking money in the suit filed on Thursday. Instead, they said they want accountability from the university and its elected trustee board.

“We contend that board members made a behind-closed-doors secret decision not to release the records in blatant violation of the Open Meetings Act,” Azzam Elder, an attorney representing the victims, said in a press release. “They followed that up with violations of the Freedom of Information Act when we requested emails that might show they discussed and made a closed-door decision on the matter in violation of law.”

Nassar has admitted to molesting some of the US’s top gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment. The disgraced doctor was convicted in 2018 to 40 to 175 years in prison over ten counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and possession of child sexual abuse images.

At the time the accusations against him emerged in 2016, Nassar had been employed by MSU for more than two decades, with some of the athletes who were molested alleging they reported the abuse since the 90s.

MSU did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment. In the past, the university has cited attorney-client privilege as the reason they refused to release documents in the case.

“This is about who knew what, when at the university,” victim Melissa Brown Hudecz told the Associated Press ahead of Thursday’s lawsuit filing. “We can’t heal as a community until we know that everyone who enabled a predator is accountable. By protecting the 6,000 secret documents and anyone named in them, the board is adding to survivors’ trauma with their lack of institutional accountability.”

The lawsuit comes just days after Nassar was stabbed multiple times by another prisoner in a federal prison in Florida.

The prisoner who stabbed Nassar said that he responded with violence following alleged comments made by Nassar that “he wanted to see girls play in the Wimbledon women’s tennis match,” according to the AP.

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