Hannah Administration Building, MSU | Susan J. Demas
A jury found former Michigan State University dean — and Larry Nassar’s old boss — William Strampel guilty of misconduct and neglect of duty on Wednesday.
The former MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean escaped charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, but a 12-member jury in Ingham County Circuit Court found him guilty of misconduct in office and two counts of willful neglect of duty.
The jury made its decision after prosecutors argued that his conduct amounted to an abuse of power meant to control female students. Strampel previously faced up to 15 years in prison for the now-dropped charge of second-degree sexual assault.
His misconduct in office charge is punishable by $10,000 and up to five years in prison. It stems from sexually explicit comments he made toward female MSU students, as well as the manner in which he handled sexual assault complaints against Nassar. The former MSU gymnastics doctor is now serving what amounts to a life sentence over sexual abuse and child pornography charges.
Strampel’s two charges of neglect of duty are misdemeanors. Strampel had allegedly also grabbed a student’s buttocks, an offense his defense attorney questioned.
The ex-dean’s next court date is July 31, when he will be sentenced by a judge, as reported by the Lansing State Journal.
“Today’s verdict sends a clear message: It’s time to change the culture in our schools and medical communities so that our female students and doctors receive the same treatment and respect as their male counterparts,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement Wednesday.
“Public officers who brandish their power to demean, insult, harass, objectify, and abuse female students will be held accountable.”
Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark told jurors Tuesday that Strampel had “absolute power and control” over the female students who he made sexually explicit comments toward, as the Detroit News reported.
Strampel’s attorney, John Dakmak, argued that others at the university were also responsible for overseeing Nassar, according to the News.
The former dean is the first MSU employee after Nassar to be convicted, following years of sexual abuse of young girls, both on- and off-campus, at the doctor’s hands.
Former MSU President Lou Anna Simon has been charged, but not convicted, of felony and misdemeanor counts of lying to police about the extent of her knowledge of Nassar’s sexual abuse.
Simon is nearing the end of her preliminary examination, after which her case may head to trial, as the LSJ reported.
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