A once nationally-renowned physician was publicly shamed after being sentenced to up to 175 years in prison on Jan. 24. Larry Nassar, a doctor for Michigan State as well as the USA Gymnastics team, was convicted of the sexual abuse of over 150 women. During the trial, it was revealed there is an ongoing investigation into Michigan State for how this doctor could have sexually abused victims for over 20 years without anyone knowing.
Nassar’s victims, 156 in total, gave statements against him in court. As expected, there was great power in every single recount of what had happened and Olympian Aly Raisman made some powerful statements that left a resounding impact on the courtroom.
“Larry, you do realize now that we – this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time – are now a force, and you are nothing,” Raisman said. “The tables have turned, Larry. We are here, we have our voices and we are not going anywhere.”
The victims have also made statements that shows they believe that the organizations failed them when they attempted to report him. These organizations include: Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee. These groups have had over 100 civil cases filed against them.
USA Gymnastics has taken quite the hig with the regignations of all the board members after they were taking the heat for the assualts occuring under their leadership. However, Michigan State is being investigated from all angles. In an investigation that began over a year ago, a special prosecutor, William Forsyth, has been assigned to look into the university “from the president’s office down.” The NCAA is also opening an investigation into the management of the athletic department.
The Detroit News reported that the allegations reached 14, or more, individuals associated with Michigan State. Furthermore, the university received a Title IX complaint against Nassar for sexual assault in 2014. While the university did investigate, it concluded that Nassar’s conduct was not sexual in nature and was solely professional.
The writing on the wall seems imminent for Michigan State as the resignations have already begun around the school. Michigan State’s president Lou Anna Simon stepped down Jan. 25 after Nassar’s comments. Athletic director Mark Hollis proceeded to resign the day after Simon.
Not only is Michigan State raveled up in scandal due to Nassar, but the problem could extended deeper into the Athletic Department. ESPN reporter Paula Lavigne stated that Michigan State showed “a pattern of widespread denial, inaction and information suppression of allegations by officials ranging from Campus police to the Spartan Athletic Department.”
These issues, if true, have a wide range, which could in fact see the proud Spartan football and basketball teams fall into scandal. It is believed that Michigan State has been attempting to keep athlete’s names out of campus police reports.
On top of this, Spartan football coach Mark Dantonio is at risk of losing his job as there have been at least 16 allegations of sexual assault by players on his roster. Furthermore, the basketball program, and Tom Izzo, are in jeopardy too as there are also allegations of misconduct running deep to the core.
In 2010, an assistant coach, Travis Walton, was convicted of punching a female student in the face and was allowed to keep his job. A couple months later, Walton, as well as two of MSU’s basketball players, were accusing of sexually assaulting another female on campus. Walton was fired at the time and Hollis reportedly said he would conduct an internal investigation. However, the players were not reprimanded and the incident was not reported to the correct on campus departments.
In Nassar’s sentencing, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina iconically said, “I’ve just signed your death warrant.”
This statement could end up not only being true for Nassar, but also the Michigan State Athletic Department as it struggles through the latest scandal to rip through the NCAA. If the NCAA finds evidence of misconduct, the penalty will undoubtedly be harsh.
It goes to show the strength that is occurring at the moment for sexual assault victims. As Hollywood stars and Congressmen are accused of sexual misconduct, every faction of life is being forced to look into sexual assault and re-evaluate inappropriate societal norms. As shown in the case of Nassar, and possibly Michigan State, sexual assault is no longer being passed over. Allegations have more power to them now after the #MeToo movement and they have been shown to pack quite the punch.