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AG's office presents evidence in probable cause hearing against former MSU dean

Former Michigan State University dean William Strampel will go to trial for sexual misconduct at Michigan State University. Strampel was in court for a probable cause hearing Tuesday. 

Strampel, the former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and boss of convicted sex abuser Larry Nassar, was arrested in March. He faces two misdemeanor charges of willful neglect of duty related to the Nassar abuse scandal, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and misconduct in office, which is a five-year felony.

The purpose of the hearing was to determine whether there's enough evidence for Strampel to stand trial on the charges. District Court Judge Richard Ball ruled that Strampel will go to court on all four charges.

The attorney general's office presented evidence to Judge Richard Ball, including a number of pornographic photos and videos collected from Strampel's work and personal computers. The judge allowed images from Strampel's work computer to be admitted as evidence, but denied admission of images collected from his home.

Two witnesses also testified, including a current MSU student. It's Michigan Radio's policy not to identify victims of alleged sex crimes without their permission.

William Strampel
Credit Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio
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Michigan Radio
Strampel will go to trial on all four counts, a judge ruled Tuesday.

The student testified that when she was a 26 year old student, she met with Strampel to appeal the results of a test. She says he said things that she interpreted as requests for naked pictures.

“I was, I was very scared. I instantly was, ‘What is going on,’ almost went into a survival mode as there was no one in the room with us, no one in the adjacent room.”

A former student also testified. She claimed she was treated inappropriately during a surgery and was summoned to see Strampel, where he verbally abused her. She also testified that he later groped her on multiple occasions.

In closing arguments, Strampel's defense attorney John Dakmak claimed that as dean, Strampel was not considered a public official and therefore should not face the misconduct in office charge. Dakmak also argued that just because someone said sexual abuse happened doesn't mean it has to be believed.

The judge ruled against those arguments in favor of the attorney general's office. In the prosecution's argument, assistant attorney general William Rollstin stated that Strampel is not a victim in this case, and that the dean had "too much power, too much ego. He was supposed to protect [his students]. He did not."

This post was updated at 3:30 p.m.

Jodi is Michigan Radio’s Director of Digital Audiences, leading and developing the station’s overall digital strategy.
Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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