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.