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Michigan Attorney General talks Nassar convictions, victims and MSU investigation

Attorney's General Bill Schuette, State of Michigan

Dr. Larry Nassar has been sentenced to decades in prison for sexual abuses. Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon resigned shortly thereafter. In her place, MSU’s board of trustees unanimously voted in Former Michigan Gov. John Engler. All of this as the Michigan Attorney General begins an investigation into what MSU new about Dr. Nassar’s conduct. WGVU spoke one-on-one with Attorney General Bill Schuette.

“What I’ve done is appoint an independent special councel, a guy named Bill Forsyth, who is well known here in West Michigan; impeccable reputation, skilled, smart, 42 years as a prosecutor, to lead this investigation. Plus, joining with us is the Michigan State Police. So, you have MSP on the investigative side, Bill Forsyth, just a very smart guy, on the prosecution side, we will just get to the bottom of this so that people’s questions we’ll provide answers.”

Dr. Larry Nassar’s conviction of sexual abuses with more than 100 female athletes from both Michigan State University and U.S.A. Gymnastics is a national story. We asked Attorney General Bill Schuette the importance of getting the next stage of the investigation right.

“Well, this is all about the survivors. This is all about the victims and that is my focus. I know it’s Bill Forsyth’s focus, the special prosecutor. These young women who were violated at their most tender years, when they were so very young, just young girls. When I heard yesterday in court in Eaton County at the victim impact statements, as I did in Ingham County two weeks ago, these are young women who are profiles in courage. They’re Kennedyesque so to speak. And their leadership and their courage and their bravery caused other young women to come forward as well and I just hold them with such respect and regard. It’s all about them.”

Knowing the documentation we asked Schuette about his disappointment in the case history.

“We’ve been on this Nassar prosecution since October of 2016 and my team prosecuted Nassar and put him behind bars. There was a gag order so I couldn’t talk much about it and I wasn’t able to praise our outstanding lawyers, but they did a terrific job. The really most significant issue when Nassar pleaded guilty I insisted, I required, that as a condition of this guilty plea, the evidence solid, I required that each and every woman, if she wanted to who was violated by Nassar, could have a victim impact statement in open court or a statement read. That, to me, was the compelling experience I’ve ever had. And those young women changed Michigan and the world and it’s a lesson other universities and colleges on what not to do and make sure you have the right governance and leadership to make sure it doesn’t happen any place else.”

We asked Schuette for his expectation of appointment former Michigan Governor John Engler replacing Lou Anna Simon as Michigan State University President.

“His responsibility as interim president, he’s a very smart guy, a very skilled guy, tough, I think he’ll do a very good job as interim president.” Will Engler clean house at MSU? “His job is to manage Michigan State University. My job, along with Bill Forsyth, and Bill Forsyth’s job, is to make sure we have a thorough, complete, prompt investigation and that’s just what will happen.”

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.