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Larry Nassar's Former Supervisor At MSU Arrested In Sexual Misconduct Case

Updated at 2:12 p.m. ET

Sheriff's deputies on Monday arrested a former Michigan State University dean who supervised Larry Nassar, the sports doctor who is in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of child pornography and sexual misconduct.

William Strampel, the 70-year-old former dean of the university's College of Osteopathic Medicine, has been booked in the Ingham County Jail and faces four charges — felony misconduct in office, criminal sexual conduct and two counts of willful neglect of duty by a public official.

"As dean of the college, Strampel used his office to harass, discriminate, demean, sexually proposition and sexually assault female students, in violation of his statutory duty as a public officer," special prosecutor Bill Forsyth told a news conference Tuesday, reading aloud from the criminal complaint.

Strampel also "abused the authority of his public office, through threats and manipulation, to solicit, receive, possess pornographic images of women who appear to be MSU students," Forsyth added.

Each of the charges Strampel faces carries a possible penalty of between one year in jail and five years in prison.

Forsyth, whom the Michigan attorney general appointed to investigate MSU at the request of the university's board of trustees, noted that his team had executed a warrant against Strampel after receiving a credible, time-sensitive tip about the former dean. During that search, investigators seized Strampel's phone, calendar and computer — the latter of which had a folder containing what police described as "approximately 50 photos of bare vaginas, nude, and semi-nude women."

"Also uncovered on Strampel's work computer were pornographic videos and a video of Dr. Larry Nassar performing 'treatment' on a young female patient," police said in their February affidavit, according to Michigan Public Radio.

The member station notes that the sexual misconduct charge Strampel faces is unrelated to Nassar's case.

Interim MSU President John Engler, who assumed office after his predecessor resigned under pressure earlier this year, began the process of removing Strampel's tenure and firing him last month.

"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 in a statement released by the university at the time.

"Further," Engler continued, "allegations have arisen that question whether his personal conduct over a long period of time met MSU's standards. 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 Associated Press writes:

"Strampel was the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, which includes the sports medicine clinic, until he announced a leave of absence for medical reasons in December. He told police last year that he never followed up after ordering Nassar in 2014 to have a third person present when providing treatment to 'anything close to a sensitive area.' In letting Nassar resume seeing patients, he also said any skin-to-skin contact should be minimal and needed to be explained in detail.

"Nassar was fired in 2016 for violating the rule. His dismissal came less than a month after former gymnast Rachael Denhollander filed a criminal complaint saying Nassar had sexually assaulted her with his hands while treating her for back pain years earlier."

As NPR's Amy Held wrote earlier this month, "Some 200 girls and young women have made similar accusations against the disgraced doctor, who has pleaded guilty to child pornography and criminal sexual misconduct charges. Nassar is behind bars after receiving prison sentences of up to hundreds of years."

John Manly, a lawyer for many of the victims, said his clients were encouraged by Strampel's arrest, saying it showed that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette "is serious about investigating the systemic misconduct at MSU that led to the largest child sex abuse scandal in history and holding the responsible parties accountable," according to the AP.

A Michigan State spokeswoman said the university would continue to cooperate with any investigations.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
Colin Dwyer covers breaking news for NPR. He reports on a wide array of subjects — from politics in Latin America and the Middle East, to the latest developments in sports and scientific research.