Michigan State University has faced intense scrutiny in recent years due to the numerous sexual assault cases that have been reported on campus. With dozens of students coming forward to report assaults, many have questioned why the university has failed to properly investigate these cases and provide justice for the victims.
Here, White Law PLLC will be breaking down Michigan State’s history with sexual assault cases. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, don’t hesitate to contact our Michigan sexual assault lawyers now.
The Tragic History of Sexual Assault Cases at Michigan State University
Michigan State University’s handling of sexual assault allegations has been a concern for decades, even before the Nassar scandal made national headlines. In 2010, several reports found that MSU did not properly handle or investigate sexual assault cases, resulting in potential underreporting of sexual assaults on campus. In 2014, an ESPN report revealed that MSU had a history of disregarding sexual assault allegations against its student-athletes, leading to multiple Title IX investigations.
Despite the negative findings and attention, MSU failed to implement significant changes to its reporting and investigative process. In fact, the Nassar scandal exposed the same issues, where MSU failed to investigate and take appropriate action against Nassar despite receiving numerous complaints from survivors.
The failure to address sexual assault allegations at MSU has led to a toxic university culture that allowed sexual assault to continue without consequences.
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The Nassar Scandal: An Overview
In 2016, former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was reported to Michigan State University (MSU) officials for grooming and sexually assaulting a patient under the guise of medical treatment. The ensuing investigation found Nassar had sexually assaulted dozens of patients, including some as young as six years old, over a span of decades.
However, MSU’s handling of the case was highly criticized for multiple reasons, including failing to adequately investigate reports of Nassar’s misconduct and not informing other potential victims of Nassar’s actions. Additionally, MSU officials have been accused of creating a culture that enabled Nassar’s behavior to go unchecked.
The Nassar scandal has become a defining moment for MSU, and its repercussions have been far-reaching, including a number of high-profile resignations and ongoing lawsuits.
MSU’s Response to the Nassar Case
When allegations against Nassar first emerged in 2016, MSU’s response was to remove him from his position and conduct an internal investigation. However, the investigation was limited in scope and did not involve law enforcement. In fact, some MSU officials even provided positive references for Nassar despite the allegations against him.
It wasn’t until after Nassar was convicted and sentenced in 2018 that MSU publicly acknowledged its failures and apologized to survivors. It’s clear that MSU’s handling of the Nassar case revealed deep-seated issues within the university’s culture and administration. It showed that there was a lack of transparency, accountability, and prioritization of the safety and well-being of students.
MSU’s response to the Nassar case has prompted changes and reforms, including hiring a new Title IX coordinator, implementing mandatory sexual assault prevention training, and conducting an external review of its handling of sexual assault cases. However, it remains to be seen if these measures will be enough to truly address the systemic failures at MSU.
More on MSU’s Shortcomings in Handling Sexual Assault Cases
The reporting and investigative process at Michigan State University has been heavily criticized for its numerous shortcomings in handling sexual assault cases. The following are just a few of the ways MSU is lacking when it comes to handling sexual assault cases properly.
Lack of Training and Resources
One major issue is the lack of training and resources for staff responsible for investigating these cases. Many of them have not received adequate training in trauma-informed interviewing techniques, which is crucial when dealing with survivors of sexual assault.
Lack of Transparency and Accountability
Additionally, there is a lack of transparency and accountability in the reporting process. Survivors have reported feeling ignored or dismissed when reporting their assaults, and some have even been discouraged from pursuing their cases further. This creates a culture of silence and discourages survivors from coming forward, perpetuating a cycle of underreporting.
Weak Investigation Processes
Furthermore, the timeliness and thoroughness of investigations at MSU have been called into
question. In some cases, survivors have reported long delays in the investigative process, leaving them in limbo and prolonging their trauma. There have also been instances where key evidence was mishandled or overlooked, undermining the integrity of the investigation.
Lack of Coordination and Communication
Another major shortcoming is the lack of coordination and communication between different departments involved in the reporting and investigation process. This leads to inconsistencies in how cases are handled, with some survivors receiving adequate support and others falling through the cracks.
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Contact an Experienced Sexual Misconduct Lawyer if You’ve Been a Victim
The failures of Michigan State University in handling sexual assault cases, particularly the Nassar scandal, shed light on a systemic issue that exists in universities across the United States. It is clear that MSU had a culture that allowed for such horrific abuse to occur, and the response to the scandal exposed many inadequacies in their reporting and investigative process.
Survivors deserve to have their voices heard and to receive the support they need to heal, and it is the responsibility of universities to ensure that this happens. It is time for real change to occur, not just at MSU but at colleges across the country. Don’t wait to contact White Law PLLC if you’ve been a victim of sexual misconduct on campus or anywhere in the state of Michigan.
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