While disgraced former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is serving prison time for what will likely be the rest of his life after sexually abusing hundreds of young girls and women, his former boss at MSU, William Strampel, is currently facing criminal sexual conduct charges of his own. And according to a statement from MSU Provost June Youatt, first released on Tuesday to the Lansing State Journal, Michigan State higher-ups knew of red flags around Strampel as far back as 2015, and elected to appoint him to another term as dean of the school’s College of Osteopathic Medicine anyway.
Youatt says that, as part of Strampel’s regular five-year review in 2015, MSU solicited comments about the dean through an anonymous survey, which revealed “several accounts of inappropriate remarks and a number of concerns about uncouth and sometimes offensive language.”
More than a year before the national accounts of Nassar came to light, I made a decision to reappoint William Strampel to another term as Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. We had just completed his five-year review where input about his effectiveness was solicited from on and off campus through an anonymous survey. The results included several accounts of inappropriate remarks and a number of concerns about uncouth and sometimes offensive language during the review period.
The concerns raised were taken seriously, and I specifically addressed these in the required post-review conversation. At that point, no complaints had been filed with (the Office of Institutional Equity) or MSUPD regarding Strampel’s behavior.
Whatever “the concerns raised were taken seriously” means, Strampel was reappointed to another term. He now stands accused of sexually harassing several female medical students, and groping at least one. While three of the four victims in the affidavit against Strampel date his misconduct before 2015, he’s also accused of telling a 26-year-old medical student, in 2017, “that 26-year-old women can ‘put out’ for 20 minutes with an old man, after which he would fall asleep, and in return the women could get the benefit of a free vacation.”
Additionally, Strampel also faces charges of willful neglect of duty for failing to enforce safety guidelines on Nassar after he was investigated in 2014. According to meeting notes obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Strampel had this to say about Nassar’s accusers in October 2016.
“Patients lie to get doctors in trouble. And we’re seeing that right now in the news with this Nassar stuff. I don’t think any of these women were actually assaulted by Larry, but Larry didn’t learn that lesson and didn’t have a chaperone in the room, so now they see an opening and they can take advantage of him.”
According to the written account, he added: “As soon as I found out I had to fire his ass. I didn’t want to, but what am I supposed to do?”
Strampel went on “medical leave” from his role as dean at MSU in December 2017, but continues to collect a salary from the school as a faculty member due to his tenure. He’s pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.