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Trial begins for former dean of Michigan State University

William Strampel
Jodi Westrick
/
Michigan Radio

The trial of the former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University began on Thursday. William Strampel is charged with not properly overseeing Larry Nassar after an internal investigation. Nassar is the former sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for decades.

Strampel is also accused of using his position to try to get sexual favors from female students.

Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark is prosecuting the case. During opening statements she said that witnesses will testify that Strampel made it clear to female students that he had all the power.

She says he told students, “'I hold your future in my hands.' Because we know he has the absolute authority at that College of Medicine.”

John Dakmak is Strampel’s attorney. He says his client may have said things to students that most people might think are odd or inappropriate. But he says there was never a quid pro quo statement.

“Yes, my client may have tough conversations with students. And it may be salty, it may be ribald, it may be vulgar," Dakmak says. "These are not 12-year-old kids, these are adults in medical school.”

The jury also heard testimony from MSU medical student Leah Jackson. She says Strampel made comments to her during a meeting about her ability to stay in school that she believes were attempts to solicit sexual favors.

The trial is expected to last three weeks. 

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
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