William Strampel, the dean of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine during Larry Nassar’s employment at the school, was found guilty Wednesday of neglect of duty and misconduct in office.
Strampel, 71, was Nassar’s direct superior at the school and was the first charged when the investigation into Nassar’s sexual abuse of gymnasts was launched. A 12-member jury found him guilty of misconduct of a public official and two charges of willful neglect of duty but not on charges involving sexual conduct.
Nassar’s boss found guilty of neglect of duty
Strampel oversaw Nassar’s department for decades. He was charged for not following new protocols imposed on Nassar, the MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor who underwent an in-house investigation in 2014 after a sexual assault charge.
He was also charged for allowing the doctor to continue seeing patients. Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison after being convicted of sexual assault under the guise of medical treatment. More than 150 women spoke at his January 2018 sentencing.
Michigan Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said during the closing arguments Strampel had a “cavalier” attitude toward the initial allegations and failed in his job to supervise Nassar, per MLive.
Attorney General Dana Nessel released a statement, via the Associated Press:
"Today's verdict sends a clear message: It's time to change the culture in our schools and medical communities so that our female students and doctors receive the same treatment and respect as their male counterparts. Public officers who brandish their power to demean, insult, objectify and abuse female students will be held accountable."
Strampel stayed on as dean until December 2017, though he was still a member of the faculty until March 2018 when women alleged sexual harassment. The official resignation was July 2018.
He faces up to five years in prison, per reports.
Strampel acquitted of sexual conduct charge
Strampel faced a felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge and a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. Per The Associated Press, female medical students accused him of staring at their breasts. He was accused of grabbing the buttocks of two medical students during a fundraiser and banquet; nine women testified he engaged in inappropriate behavior during academic settings, per MLive.
Dakmak said it amounted to “locker room talk” and was not illegal. The jury found him not guilty on those charges.
“We never even considered him remotely someone that would have sexually assaulted anybody and the jury has clearly seen that also,” Dakmak said, via MLive.com. “We’re disappointed in the finding of guilt on the other three charges. We obviously respect the decision of the jury, we just don’t agree with it at this point.”
He could have been imprisoned for up to 15 years on the charges. The trial began in late May and did not include testimony from Strampel, who waived his right to testify. His attorney said Strampel had “mixed emotions” to the verdict and they’re unsure on if an appeal is coming, per the AP and MLive.
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