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Michigan Attorney General to Investigate University Sex Abuse Scandal

FILE - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is pictured giving a speech in Boston, Dec. 17, 2014. He has begun a probe of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has launched an investigation into how much Michigan State University officials knew about sexual abuse accusations by patients of former school faculty member and USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar.

"It is abundantly clear that a full and complete investigation of what happened at Michigan State University, from the president's office down, is required," Schuette said at a news conference Saturday in East Lansing. "We will put a bright light at every corner of the university."

The university's board of trustees urged the attorney general last week to consider appointing a neutral investigator "to promote bipartisan acceptance of the results."

Schuette, who is running for governor of the Midwestern state, took offense at the board's request, telling reporters, "I don't need advice from the board of trustees at MSU about how to conduct an investigation. Frankly, they should be the last ones to be providing advice, given their conduct throughout this entire episode. Their conduct throughout this entire episode speaks for itself."

Schuette said Michigan State Police Director Kriste Kibbey Etue and former Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth would lead the probe into the scandal, in which Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty of sexually abusing more than 150 female gymnasts, some as young as 6 years old, under the guise of medical treatment, for more than two decades.


Schuette's comments came one day after Athletic Director Mark Hollis resigned, and three days after university President Lou Anna Simon submitted her resignation, just after Nassar's sentencing. The school's governing board expressed support for Simone, but she eventually succumbed to pressure from students, faculty and lawmakers. There is no evidence Simon was aware Nassar was committing acts of abuse, but some of the more than 150 accusers said their complaints to the school over the years were not addressed.

"My department in this investigation will find out who knew what and when, who took action, who failed to take action, what did or did not happen, and what should have happened," Schuette said.

Nassar also was accused of molesting other young gymnasts while employed by USA Gymnastics, the sport's U.S. governing body. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney are among victims who said in recent months they were assaulted by Nassar during treatment. Many victims have accused USA Gymnastics of ignoring their complaints and concealing them in an effort to avoid negative publicity.

University board members, who are elected in statewide votes, also are under intense scrutiny. Two members have said they will not seek re-election.