State prosecutors lost an appeal in a pivotal Larry Nassar case against Lou Anna Simon, former president of Michigan State Spartans

DETROIT – State prosecutors have lost the ability to recover charges against the former Michigan State president, who allegedly lied to investigators in 2018 as they tried to find out what she knew. years ago about sexual assault complaints involving Larry Nassar.

The Michigan Court of Appeals confirmed an Eaton County judge’s decision to dismiss the case against Lou Anna Simon. In a 3-0 view on Tuesday, the court agreed that there was not enough evidence to bring her to trial.

Elizabeth Gleicher, the court’s next chief justice, harshly criticized prosecutors for pursuing the case.

“The historical context favors that the goal is to exact punishment for MSU’s failure to stop Nassar rather than to pursue justice for criminal misconduct,” Gleicher said in a separate 14-hour opinion piece. Page. “Dr Simon was one of the scapegoats chosen to justify that effort.”

It is the second major Nassar-related decision this week from the same three-judge panel on the appeals court, which also overturned the convictions of former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages of point 2 -first.

Nassar, a former school sports doctor as well as a USA Gymnastics doctor, is serving a decades-long prison sentence. Hundreds of women and girls, most of them exercisers, said he sexually abused them during visits for hip, back and leg injuries.

Gleicher said “there is no doubt” that the State of Michigan was “mishandling” complaints about Nassar long before Simon became president. But she questioned why the attorney general’s office, first under Bill Schuette and now Dana Nessel, would investigate MSU after Nassar was locked up.

The charges against Simon center on a 2018 interview with investigators, who said they wanted to know what officials at East Lansing School knew about Nassar.

Authorities allege that Simon learned in 2014 that Nassar had been accused of sexually abusing a patient at a campus clinic, and that she knew the nature of the complaint.

But Simon insisted that she only knew that a complaint had been filed against a sports doctor. She told investigators she didn’t learn anything specific about Nassar until 2016.

Gleicher said the prosecution was “designed to punish and humiliate Dr Simon for the crimes of MSU, not to provide justice for Nassar survivors or to whitewash legitimate purposes.” of the law punishing those who lie to the police.”

The attorney general’s office said it was considering whether to ask the state Supreme Court to hear the case. The court may refuse.

Spokesperson Lynsey Mukomel said: “The Department has been following the evidence it cites. Any other claims are baseless.”

Simon stepped down as president in January 2018, hours after Nassar was sentenced to prison after days of taking testimony from survivors.

The state of Michigan has agreed to pay $500 million to survivors. In addition, the US Department of Education ordered the school to make sweeping changes and pay a $4.5 million fine. State prosecutors lost an appeal in a pivotal Larry Nassar case against Lou Anna Simon, former president of Michigan State Spartans

John Verrall

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