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Michigan's new sexual assault hotline was flooded with calls during Senate hearings on a sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The group that runs the helpline, the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, says calls to the helpline increased 50 to 100 percent Thursday, as the hearings were widely broadcast throughout the day.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Prosecutors and police say a Catholic priest’s ‘no contest’ pleas to sexual abuse charges this week will give his victims closure.

Father Robert Deland was scheduled to face the first of three trials this week. The charges related to incidents involving three young men, between the ages of 17 and 21. But before jury selection could begin, Deland entered 'no contest' pleas to six felony and one misdemeanor charge. 

michigan state university sign
Branislav Ondrasik / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


Michigan State University has stopped payments to sexual abuse victims because of suspicion of possible fraudulent claims.

The $10 million fund was set up earlier this year to pay for counseling services for the survivors of abuse by former MSU sports physician Larry Nassar. 

Matt Mencarini is with a reporter with Lansing State Journal. He broke the story of the halted funds earlier this week. Mencarini joined Stateside’s Lester Graham to explain why exactly MSU suspended these funds. 

John Engler at the final MSU Board of Trustees meeting of the 2017/18 school year.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Members of Michigan State University’s governing board are calling for interim president John Engler to resign.

That’s after the Chronicle of Higher Education published an email between Engler and aides in which he said Nassar survivor Rachel Denhollander was likely receiving a “kickback” from lawyers.

Trustees Brian Mosallam and Dianne Byrum released statements saying Engler needs to go.

Bishop Joseph Cistone celebrating Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church in Saginaw.
Catholic Diocese of Saginaw / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Father Robert DeLand was the priest entrusted with recruiting and guiding young men thinking of becoming Catholic priests. He was also the pastor of a parish in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw. Now, he stands accused of sexual assault and gross indecency based on the accusations of a 17-year-old high school student and a 21-year-old man.

Prison bars
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Michigan Court of Appeals says inmates sentenced to prison as children can sue the state over allegations they were beaten and sexually abused. The lawsuit says the assaults were committed by other inmates and prison staff.

The state tried to have the case dismissed under a 1999 amendment to Michigan’s civil rights law. The court said it’s unconstitutional to bar inmates from filing civil rights claims against the state.

Deborah LaBelle is an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Engler looks quite unsympathetic during House testimony

Mar 16, 2018

Twenty years ago, John Engler was by far, the biggest figure in Lansing, and perhaps the most powerful governor Michigan has ever had. He understood the legislature better than anyone, largely because he had been in it for twenty years before becoming governor.

He was both respected and feared, and lawmakers in both parties thought twice before taking him on. Times have changed, however, and yesterday Engler, now interim president of Michigan State University, found himself testifying before a skeptical senate subcommittee.

kate wells / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Senate may vote this week on a package of bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. However, some groups are expressing concern that the legislation would retroactively extend the time victims would have to file lawsuits and remove an immunity defense for governmental agencies.

Rachael Denhollander and her husband
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Update, Sept. 10, 2018:

Michigan State University has frozen the Healing Assistance Fund while a fraudulent claim is investigated. 

The university says it will reopen the fund when the investigation is complete, but when that will happen is unknown.

Ryan Basilio / Creative Commons

The Catholic Church's lobbying arm in Michigan says it has concerns with a bill that would retroactively lengthen the time limit for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits.

Michigan State University sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Another investigation into Michigan State University has been opened. 

The U.S. Department of Education announced Monday that a new Title IX investigation will look at how the university handled sexual assault complaints against former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Doctor's stethoscope
Pixabay.com

A former University of Michigan pediatric rheumatologist has been arrested and is in federal custody on child pornography charges.

Dr. Mark Hoeltzel was arrested as part of a larger investigation into a sexual relationship with a female patient that started when she was 18.

Police in Ann Arbor began looking at Hoeltzel in December, when the Michigan office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) was investigating that alleged relationship.

Larry Nassar
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Larry Nassar was sentenced Monday to 40-125 years in Eaton County Circuit Court.

The former sports doctor pled guilty to three counts of first degree criminal sexual assault. That's in addition to seven counts in Ingham County, for which he was sentenced to 40-175 years.

The sentences in Eaton and Ingham are separate, but will be served concurrently, if Nassar survives the 60 years he is set to spend in federal prison for child pornography.

The father of survivor Katie Black weeps as his daughter speaks.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The second day of the Larry Nassar sentencing in Eaton County got off to a turbulent start when an angry father of three victims lunged at the former sports doctor.

After a brief break to calm the chaos, Judge Janice Cunningham addressed the nervous crowd:

"This is such a unique case that involves hundreds of victims, and therefore hundreds of family members, brothers, sisters, spouses, friends. And to have watched the pain and the suffering of what loved ones have gone through is [unimaginable]...So if it is hard and difficult for me to hear what [Randall Margraves'] daughters have to say, I can't imagine what it is like for a parent."

Larry Nassar
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Larry Nassar is back in a Michigan courtroom this week, as he faces another lengthy sentencing hearing.

Bailey Lorencen hugs Rachel Denhollander
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

One week ago, state prosecutor Angela Polivaitis announced that 88 women and girls would give victim impact statements in the sentencing hearing of disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Now the prosecution says that number has risen to 144, and more may decide to speak before the sentence is announced this week.

Larry Nassar
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees and President Lou Anna Simon have asked Attorney General Bill Schuette to open an independent review of how MSU handled complaints against disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Larry Nassar in court with his attorneys, Shannon Smith and Matthew Newburg.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

As she prepares to sentence a former Olympic gymnastics and Michigan State University sports doctor for child pornography possession next week, federal Judge Janet Neff is getting a picture of two very different Larry Nassars.

Paul Weaver / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The argument that bad guys will always find a way to get guns, so gun laws don’t help, doesn’t appear to apply to intimate partner homicides.

The "Sparty" statue on the MSU campus
Betsy Weber / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University wants to prove it takes sexual assault issues seriously. After a year in which a former MSU sports doctor was arrested and accused of sexually abusing at least 120 women and girls, and three former football players were charged with sexual misconduct, the school brought in a law firm to review its Title IX policies and procedures.

A small group of women (including some not pictured here) have met up to share and process their alleged abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar. From left: Christine Harrison, Larissa Boyce, Jennifer Smith, and Alexis Alvarado
Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

This year, more than 120 women and girls found out they’re part of the same terrible club.

As children and teens, they were all allegedly abused by former Michigan State University and Olympic gymnastics sports doctor, Larry Nassar.

Now, as Nassar considers a plea deal next week on multiple sexual assault charges, some of these women and girls are meeting for the first time.
 

Nassar in court.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

“Bubba will be his new bed partner.”

“Special circle of hell waiting for him.”

Those are just a couple of the Facebook comments Larry Nassar’s attorneys submitted to Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina last month, as part of their bid to move his upcoming trial out of the county.

It’s evidence, they argue, that after all the “inflammatory” media coverage of Nassar’s alleged sexual assaults, he can’t get a fair trial in the county where he’s lived and practiced for years.

Larry Nassar in court with his attorneys, Shannon Smith and Matthew Newburg.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University is paying a ton of money for some of the best lawyers in the country.

Their job? Investigate how a former MSU sports doctor, Larry Nassar, could allegedly abuse dozens of young patients for years – and whether anybody at MSU knew about it.

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Larry Nassar could get anywhere from five to 60 years in federal prison. That’s the range Judge Janet Neff will consider at a sentencing hearing in federal court, which was just scheduled for November 27.

Nassar, who used to be the lead doctor for USA Gymnastics and was a popular clinician at Michigan State University, has been accused of sexual assault and abuse by more than 100 women and girls.

Larry Nassar mug shot
Michigan Attorney General's office

Jeanette Antolin says she feels like federal prosecutors “lied straight to my face.”

A member of the U.S. women’s gymnastics national team from 1995-2000, Antolin says Larry Nassar sexually abused her for years in his role as team doctor. Nassar was also a professor and clinician at Michigan State University until he was fired in 2016.

Wikimedia Commons

Stories like that of Nicole Beverly, whose abusive husband is set to be released from prison in August despite alleged threats to kill her and her children, are nothing new for Barbara Niess-May, executive director of SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor.

“Her story is common, in that there are many survivors who find themselves needing to relocate because of the assailant,” Niess-May said. “What’s uncommon is the fact that she has gone public with her story.”

Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Records show a Michigan State University doctor resigned in January after learning the school was considering her termination because she didn't disclose that USA Gymnastics was investigating Dr. Larry Nassar.

Flickr Creative Commons

Professor John Kerr wants to be really clear: It's not that he thinks MSU police aren't doing a great job, or that the administration has anything to hide in its effort to investigate Dr. Larry Nassar, a former professor and sports physician at the school.

It's just that Kerr, and at least another 150 faculty members at Michigan State University who signed a letter detailing their concerns, are worried it looks bad if the university essentially investigates itself in a massive criminal sexual abuse case.

Larry Nassar's headshot
Michigan Attorney General's office

Eighteen alleged victims are suing former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and his former employer, Michigan State University.

The accusers are current and former athletes who sought treatment from Dr. Nassar, but instead, they say, they were repeatedly molested, with Dr. Nassar groping them and, in some cases, digitally penetrating them.  

Larry Nassar mug shot
Michigan Attorney General's office

A Michigan doctor who formerly worked for USA Gymnastics and is facing sexual assault charges has been indicted on child pornography charges.

The child pornography indictment against Dr. Larry Nassar was unsealed Friday in federal court in Grand Rapids. He's already charged with sexual assault in state court and is a target in civil lawsuits filed by former female gymnasts.

The indictment says Nassar received child pornography and possessed thousands of images, from 2003 through 2016.

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