Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel has requested an interview with John Engler, who resigned as Michigan State University interim president earlier this week to avoid being fired the next day. The AG’s office has accused Engler and MSU of “stonewalling” its investigation into the university’s handling of Larry Nassar’s decades of sexual abuse, including withholding or redacting thousands of documents.
The Detroit News reports that the AG sought to question Engler before he was forced out by the board of trustees:
Nessel made the request Monday before Engler stepped down amid controversy. Her office had already contacted MSU to try to set up the interview and the attorney general is “counting on him to honor the request despite his resignation,” said spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney.
Nessel was concerned by the “lack of transparency and overall cooperation” by MSU under Engler, Rossman-McKinney said.
Engler was hired last February to clean up the ethical and financial disasters left by the university’s mishandling of reports of and investigations into Nassar’s abuse, but just because he postdates Nassar doesn’t mean he’s not potentially liable. Three people have already been criminally charged for interfering with various investigations:
- In March, William Strampel, the former dean of the osteopathic medical school and Nassar’s former boss, was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty for failing to enforce protocols put into place after a 2014 Title IX investigation into Nassar. (Separately, Strampel was also charged with criminal sexual misconduct.)
- In August, Kathie Klages, a former women’s gymnastics coach, was charged with lying to investigators about what she had known of accusations against Nassar.
- In November, former university president Lou Anna K. Simon was charged with lying to police about whether she had known Nassar was the subject of an investigation.
All three are awaiting trial.
Engler has come under fire for his both private and public statements: the former included meeting one Nassar victim without her attorney present and offering her $250,000 to drop her lawsuit; the latter included just this week declaring that some of Nassar’s victims have been “enjoying” the “spotlight.”
Engler resigned Wednesday night, hours of the MSU board of trustees announced it would vote the next day on his firing. In the letter, Engler opened by blaming his ouster on the fact that the board now has a majority of Democrats. He then spent 11 pages listing the good things he did while president.
Engler’s resignation letter: