LANSING (WWJ) – In the week following the sentencing of former MSU doctor Larry Nassar, the resignation of MSU’s president Lou Anna Simon, retirement of Athletic Director Mark Hollis and a call for the ouster of board trustees — the university names MSU alumnus and former governor of Michigan John Engler as interim president.
With a cry from victim after victim given in impact statements during the sentencing of Nassar for sexual assault accusing the university of failing to report the abuse and further asking the university for transparency in the handling of the continuing investigation into ‘who knew what and when’ at MSU in connection with the sexual assault of at least 150 girls and young women by Nassar — the appointment of Engler gives the appearance, to at least one of the victims, as continuing collusion and clouding further investigation.
Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to go public with an accusation against Nassar said in a Facebook post Tuesday:
“John Engler is reportedly selected for interim president at MSU. I am beyond disappointed to hear this. Engler is a deep political insider at MSU. At a time the university desperately needs, and survivors pleaded for, outside accountability and leadership, the Board chooses one of the most entrenched insiders. Despite the Board’s words about accountability, it is business as usual. I sincerely hope the Board reconsiders,” wrote Denhollander.
“It appears Engler will indeed be the interim president at MSU. My hope is that despite his close ties, he will act with leadership and integrity. The Board issued good words a few days ago about moving away from litigation and towards healing, but they have yet to act on those words. My hope is that Engler will be the first leader to truly act on what is right, and put immediate action behind the Board’s statement.”
Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting seven girls and women in the Lansing area between 1998 and 2015 during medical visits, but the hearing was open to all of his accusers who wished to speak. Both the Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics are accused of mishandling the case.
Nassar has been described as perpetrating the worst sex abuse scandal in the history of American universities.
He was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexual assaulting female patients.The sexual assault sentence is on top of a 60 year sentence on a separate federal conviction for child pornography.