Michigan AG report: Larry Nassar said sexual abuse case should have been handled as medical malpractice

Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor sentenced to prison for sexually abusing hundreds of women and girls, said his case was not criminal and should have been handled as medical malpractice, according to a Michigan attorney general report.

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The report, released Friday, was an update on the office's investigation of Michigan State University and its handling of the Nassar case. The report says the investigation's main findings are that MSU officials "stonewalled" state investigators and that Nassar "remains defiant and unrepentant."

Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison for his various offenses.

David Dwyre, the chief of investigations at the attorney general's office, interviewed Nassar before the former physician's transfer to federal prison in hopes that Nassar would reveal anyone at MSU who helped cover his crimes. But Nassar "offered no helpful information," Dwyre wrote in the report.

"It immediately became clear that his statements of remorse in the courtroom were a farce," the report said.

In addition to telling investigators his case should have been handled as a malpractice case, Nassar said he only pleaded guilty after losing support from the medical community and from patients after police discovered child pornography in his possession.

Nassar maintained all of his "treatment," later determined to be sexual abuse, was done for a medical purpose and not for his own pleasure, according to the report.

The report says university officials failed to cooperate with "the very investigation it pledged to support" by issuing misleading public statements, "drowning" investigators in irrelevant documents, "waging needless battles" over pertinent documents and asserting attorney-client privilege when it did not apply.

MSU released the following statement in response to the report:

"We are extraordinarily sorry that Larry Nassar was on our campus and has hurt so many people. The university is engaged in -- and investing in -- an intense reform and cultural change effort to ensure that Michigan State University is a safe campus for students, faculty, staff and our community. Today's announcement shows that the attorney general's office has found no criminal conduct beyond those formerly charged, even after reviewing more than a half million documents and interviewing 500 people. We appreciate the attorney general's investigation and the hard work of the many people involved."

The report concludes Nassar's lengthy, unchecked abuse is attributable to "a series of individual failures."

It says "MSU has fostered a culture of indifference toward sexual assault, motivated by its desire to protect its reputation."

Of the 280 survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse interviewed for the report, 13 said they reported Nassar's abuse to an MSU employee at or near the time it was happening. Reports dated back to 1997 and were as recent as 2015. Each MSU employee who learned of Nassar's actions, except for one, "downplayed its seriousness or affirmatively discouraged the survivors from proceeding with their allegation," according to the report.

In addition to Nassar, the report names three other people connected to MSU who have already been charged: former MSU gymnastics coach Kathy Klages, former MSU Dean of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel and former MSU President Lou Anna Simon. Two former officials at USA Gymnastics have also been charged in connection with the case.

The AG's office is continuing its investigation. Appointed independent counsel William Forsyth said in a press conference Friday that he couldn't rule out additional people being charged, CNN reported.

The entire report can be found here.

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