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Interim President of Michigan State University and former Michigan Gov. John Engler. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Interim President of Michigan State University and former Michigan Gov. John Engler. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Victim blaming

Calls for Michigan State interim president to resign after remarks Nassar victims are enjoying ‘the spotlight’

By WITW Staff on January 16, 2019

Calls have been made for Michigan State University interim president President John Engler to resign, after claiming in an interview that victims of sports physician Larry Nassar had been enjoying “the spotlight” and “awards and recognition” that came in wake of his trial.

“There are a lot of people who are touched by this, survivors who haven’t been in the spotlight,” Engler told The Detroit News. “In some ways they have been able to deal with this better than the ones who’ve been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition. And it’s ending. It’s almost done.”

Engler had taken over the position of MSU president from former president Lou Anna Simon after she resigned over her handling of allegations that Nassar, who was employed at the school after being ousted from USA Gymnastics, was molesting and abusing patients. Nassar was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in February after being convicted for molesting at least 250 girls, and Simon was charged in November with two felonies for allegedly helping cover up the doctor’s abuse. William Strampel, Nassar’s former boss at MSU, has also been accused of covering up Nassar’s actions. Strampel himself also stands accused of sexually assaulting medical students, coercing them into sending him nude photos, and storing footage of Nassar molesting a patient on his work computer.

Since taking over the role of president, Engler, a former Michigan governor, has repeatedly drawn condemnation for his treatment of Nassar’s victims. In one instance, he allegedly tried to coerce 19-year-old Nassar survivor Kaylee Lorincz into naming a dollar figure to end her civil lawsuit against the university. In another disturbing and bizarre case, he accused Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to accuse Nassar of sexual assault, of only coming forward in return for financial kickbacks. In December, Engler also moved to close a $10 million healing fund meant to provide counseling and other services for victims of Nassar who wouldn’t benefit from MSU’s $500 million settlement with 332 women who alleged abuse at the doctor’s hands. After the school’s board of trustees voted last week to establish another fund to help said victims, Engler again sparked controversy by claiming it might not be available to all of them.

MSU trustee Brian Mosallam, who had been working to oust Engler for nearly a year, told The Detroit Free Press that his most recent comments had finally swayed the board into demanding that he resign or face being fired publicly.

“John Engler’s reign of terror is over,” said Mosallam. “Michigan State University will be returned to its people.”

Read the full story at HuffPost, Yahoo News, and ESPN.


Leaked emails purportedly show how USA Gymnastics worked with Larry Nassar to cover up sex abuse allegations

University dean who supervised Larry Nassar arrested, charged with sexually assaulting students

University reaches $500 million settlement with Nassar victims