Michigan State did not share the full findings of an investigation by its Title IX office into convicted sexual predator Larry Nassar with one of Nassar’s accusers in 2014, according to the Lansing State Journal.
Reporting from Matt Mencarini says the school gave Amanda Thomashow a short paragraph of the findings after she accused Nassar of sexual assault, then gave a much longer statement to Nassar, the school’s general counsel and William Strampel, Nassar’s boss at the College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2014.
The statement MSU gave Thomashow, per the Lansing State Journal:
We cannot find that the conduct was of a sexual nature. Thus, it did not violate the Sexual Harassment Policy. However, we find the claim helpful in that it allows us to examine certain practices at the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic.
That’s 41 words. Here’s the statement given to Nassar, MSU’s office of general counsel and Strampel. It starts the same way:
We cannot find that the conduct was of a sexual nature. Thus, it did not violate the Sexual Harassment Policy. However, we find the claim helpful in that it brought to light some significant problems that the practice will want to address.
But this statement continues in much greater detail:
We find that whether medically sound or not, the failure to adequately explain procedures such as these invasive, sensitive procedures, is opening the practice up to liability and is exposing patients to unnecessary trauma based on the possibility of perceived inappropriate sexual misconduct. In addition, we find that the failure to obtain consent from patients prior to the procedure is likewise exposing the practice to liability. If procedures can be performed skin-on-skin or over clothes in the breast or pelvic floor area, it would seem patients should have the choice between the two. Having a resident, nurse or someone in the room during a sensitive procedure protects doctors and provides patients with peace of mind. If ‘touching is what DO’s do’ and that is not commonly known, perhaps the practice will want to consider a disclaimer or information sheet with that information provided to the patient up front.
Finally, we believe the practice should consider whether its procedure for intake of complaints about physicians’ behavior is adequate. Ms. Thomashow claims she tried to file a complaint with the front desk receptionist, telling her that she was cancelling her appointment because she felt ‘violated.’ Whether this triggers a reporting protocol should be examined by the practice.
The 246-word second statement mentions to Nassar’s contact with patients, which often involved the former doctor touching the vaginas of teenage girls. While Michigan State’s findings here were that this touching was not of a sexual nature, ESPN reporting from last week debunks that line of thinking:
Doctors interviewed by Outside the Lines say intravaginal and intrarectal treatments have been used for decades to treat medical problems such as pelvic floor dysfunction, which can occur when muscles on the pelvic floor become weak or tight. The treatments can also be used for interstitial cystitis, a painful bladder syndrome. But those same doctors say the procedures are never performed without gloves, a chaperone in the room and, in the case of a minor, parental consent.
Nassar ultimately was fired from Michigan State in 2016 after an Indianapolis Star report revealed allegations against him stemming back almost 20 years. He was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison earlier this week after more than 150 women made victim-impact statements in court.