Michigan AG seeks university emails, texts in Nassar review

LANSING, Mich. (AP) State Attorney General Bill Schuette is asking Michigan State University for emails and text messages related to Larry Nassar, an initial salvo in his investigation into how the college handled complaints against the longtime campus sports doctor who was sentenced to decades in prison last week for sexually assaulting female athletes.

In a letter released Monday, Schuette and his special independent counsel, William Forsyth, requested the communications of 20 current and former school officials, including the entire eight-member governing board of trustees and President Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis – who both quit last week after Nassar’s sentencing.

Also being sought by Feb. 9 are records related to three people who have been under heightened scrutiny since Nassar was fired in September 2016: longtime gymnastics coach Kathie Klages, who retired last February after being suspended for defending Nassar in a team meeting; sports medicine doctor Brooke Lemmen, who resigned in January 2017 amid allegations that she did not tell the university in 2015 that Nassar was being invested by USA Gymnastics after the school had cleared him in a 2014 Title IX probe; and William Strampel, the former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine who began a leave of absence for medical reasons in December.

In the letter dated Saturday, investigators asked for Strampel’s work computer, his work cellphone and his work calendars ”immediately.” They also requested ”all records” of any university investigation into the Nassar matter, including a review conducted by former Chicago federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. He was hired by the school and has said no one there knew that Nassar committed crimes.

A message seeking comment was left with a university spokesman on Monday.

Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison last week at the end of an extraordinary seven-day hearing at which more than 150 women and girls said he had molested them under the guise of medical treatment. Victims blamed Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for not doing more earlier to stop him.

One woman, Larissa Boyce, said she and a fellow teenage teammate complained about Nassar to Klages in 1997, when they trained with the Spartan youth gymnastics team.

”Instead of notifying authorities or even my parents, we were interrogated,” Boyce said in her statement to the court. ”We were led to believe we were misunderstanding a medical technique. … She humiliated and silenced me.”

Nassar’s accusers have said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them digitally and engage in other inappropriate touching when they were seeking treatment for back, hip, leg, foot and other injuries.

An attorney who represents Klages and Strampel declined to comment Monday, citing a lawsuit that has been filed against them.

Follow David Eggert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/David%20Eggert