Judge dismisses Nassar-related charges against former MSU President Lou Anna Simon
A judge has dismissed criminal charges against former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon arising from the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal.
Simon was ordered to trial last year on charges that she lied to police about her knowledge of a sexual misconduct complaint against Nassar.
But Eaton County Judge John Maurer dismissed the case Wednesday, saying the evidence wasn't sufficient.
“The prosecution did not provide evidence sufficient to give a reasonable person probable cause that Dr. Simon knew during her 2018 interview that her purported knowledge in 2014 of Dr. Nassar's name and the ‘nature’ and ‘substance’ of the complaint against him” were relevant, the judge said.
Simon resigned from her position in January 2018, one week after hundreds of women and girls came forward during the sentencing hearing of former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.
State attorneys argued MSU "screwed up" its investigation into Nassar in 2014 - perhaps even intentionally - and Simon lied to police to cover it up. Simon's attorneys argued the former president didn't lie, but rather investigators failed to ask the right questions.
A spokesperson for the state attorney general said, "We’re still thoroughly reviewing the opinion of the court but we believe the District Court judge that heard the testimony of the State’s witnesses firsthand and bound Dr. Simon over for trial made the right decision. We plan to appeal the circuit court’s decision to the Court of Appeals."
Survivors of Nassar voiced their disappointment in a statement released by their attorney. Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar, said the dismissal "highlights why MSU needed to do an independent, third party investigation but it failed to do it."
"We already knew that a lot of the missteps were not going to be prosecuted and that is why we needed answers from a third party," Denhollander said via the statement. "It highlights MSU’s lack of transparency and the continued insistence on a cover up."