LANSING (WWJ) – Legislation is now being drafted to ban Michigan colleges and universities from using state funding to settle any legal claims related to sexual misconduct.
State Representative Klint Kesto said the legislation is a response to the growing scandal involving former Michigan State University physician Larry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting young patients during the course of his duties while working for USA Gymnastics and the school.
“This individual took advantage of and violated over 100 girls,” Kesto said in a statement. “While the health of these young women is most important, it’s obvious that the civil legal process will continue to unfold over the next few months and years. We have to protect taxpayers by ensuring not a single dime of state funding sent to Michigan State University is used as part of a settlement with these unfortunate victims.
Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography related to material seized from his personal residence. He also pleaded guilty in November in Ingham County Circuit Court to criminal sexual conduct charges involving seven victims.
In response to the case, MSU officials have established a $10 million fund to cover mental health services for the approximately 150 victims in this case.
Kesto is concerned after hearing recent media reports that USA Gymnastics reached a $1.25 million settlement with one victim in December 2016.
“These women deserve justice, but it should be the responsibility of the MSU administration to address that,” he said. “Penn State is paying the high costs of its own recent scandal to the tune of $110 million. The settlements relating to the Nassar case should not be paid for by the current students at Michigan State or the taxpayers as a whole.”