William D. Strampel, the longtime boss of convicted pedophile Larry Nassar and former dean of Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, said in 2016 that he didn’t believe the athletes who accused Nassar of sexual abuse, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Strampel supervised Nassar for almost 15 years during Nassar’s tenure as MSU’s team doctor, during which time Nassar sexually abused hundreds of athletes. He stepped down as dean in 2017 due to medical reasons and amid backlash that he had ignored complaints about Nassar. Strampel is still an MSU employee and is named as a defendant in several civil lawsuits against MSU.
The Wall Street Journal recently obtained notes from an October 2016 meeting with four students and three MSU administrators about a separate incident of sexual assault between a female and male student. According to the notes, Strampel brushed off the female student’s accusation and pointed to Nassar as an example of how people often lie about abuse:
“This just goes to show that none of you learned the most basic lesson in medicine, medicine 101, that you should have learned in your first week: don’t trust your patients,” Dr. Strampel is quoted saying. “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?”
One of the people at the meeting told the news outlet that everyone in the meeting was shocked by Strampel’s comments. “He can’t possibly be serious,” the person said.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal.
Nassar was fired from MSU over allegations of sexual abuse in September 2016, only a few weeks before this meeting. He was arrested in November of the same year on child pornography charges.
A spokeswoman for MSU told HuffPost that the university will not speak on behalf of Strampel, but pointed out that MSU’s interim President John Engler did begin the process of terminating Strampel’s employment in February.
“William Strampel did not act with the level of professionalism we expect from individuals who hold senior leadership positions, particularly in a position that involves student and patient safety,” Engler said at the time. “We are sending an unmistakable message today that we will remove employees who do not treat students, faculty, staff or anyone else in our community in an appropriate manner.”
The termination process for Strampel could take up to a year.
MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. Strampel could not be reached for comment.
MSU and its administration have been put on blast for how the university failed to protect its students. According to an explosive report from The Detroit News, at least 14 MSU staffers and representatives were told of Nassar’s abuse but did nothing to stop it.
According to court records, Nassar abused at least 265 children and young athletes during his time at MSU and as the USA Gymnastics team doctor. Last year, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges. He was recently sentenced to two separate sentences of up to 175 years on child sexual abuse.
This article has been updated to include a comment from a Michigan State University spokeswoman.