Michigan State president Lou Anna K. Simon has resigned after facing intense pressure to step down in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal.
“The last year and a half has been very difficult for the victims of Larry Nassar, for the university community, and for me personally,” Simon wrote in her resignation letter. “To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment.
“I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement.”
Nassar was sentenced to a maximum of 175 years in prison on Wednesday at the conclusion of a seven-day sentencing hearing after he he pled guilty to sexually abusing young girls while acting as a doctor at Michigan State and USA Gymnastics. His guilty plea was to seven charges, but 168 victims — many of them now grown women — filed into a Michigan court room over the last week to confront Nassar over his abuse.
“I just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar after handing down his fate.
A 2014 Indianapolis Star investigative report was the catalyst for exposing Nassar’s atrocities, prompting Racheal Denhollander to share her story as the first woman to speak out publicly about Nassar’s abuse. Denhollander was 15 years old when she fell prey to Nassar in 2000 at the Michigan State sports medicine clinic.
An investigation revealed that Nassar’s abuse at Michigan State dates back as far as 1997 when then 16-year-old Larissa Boyce told a gymnastics coach at the school about Nassar’s abuse, a report that was never filed.
Simon has worked in Michigan State administration since 1993 and has served as school president since 2005.