BY: Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller | IN: Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury
In a letter dated March 2, 2017, Michigan State University Athletic Director Mark Hollis sent a letter to 2,900 current and former female student-athletes with instructions on how to contact the MSU police department if they were sexually assaulted by physician and trainer Larry Nassar.
Who Received the Letters from MSU?
The letters were only sent to MSU student-athletes who attended the school during the nearly 20 years that Nassar worked there and served as the team physician for the women’s gymnastics and rowing squads.
This letter is the first time since Nassar was arrested in September 2016 that the university that has reached out specifically to current and former athletes. Unfortunately, letters were not sent to all the female patients he saw in his MSU sports medicine clinic or at other gymnastic training facilities.
What Does the MSU Letter about Larry Nassar Say?
The letter signed by Hollis reads as follows:
As has been reported widely in media and was addressed in President Simon’s Feb. 3 letter to the MSU community, former MSU employee Larry Nassar faces multiple criminal charges for sexual assault. Through his work with the MSU HealthTeam, Nassar served as a team physician seeing student-athletes across multiple sports.
Because you are a member of the MSU Athletics family, I am writing to ensure you are aware of how to report information about any suspected wrongdoing while you were a student-athlete. Any member of the MSU community, past or present, who may have information relevant to the ongoing Nassar investigation is urged to call MSUPD’s toll-free tip line at: 844-99-MSUPD.
The MSUPD will follow up on all relevant information it receives. To the extent MSUPD receives information not relevant to ongoing inquiries, MSUPD will forward that information to the University’s outside counsel and University offices responsible for conducting investigations on the University’s behalf, as appropriate.
Information about community, state, and national sexual assault resources can be found online at titleix.msu.edu and endrape.msu.edu.
The core values of MSU Athletics are clear: respect for self and others, accountability for actions and choices, and integrity. Sexual assault, in any form, is unacceptable. We will continue our commitment to creating a culture that is safe, supportive, responsive, and accountable.
While the letter urges recipients to contact MSU’s police department, it is important that they also seek personal counsel to protect their right to recover damages in a civil suit.
How Extensive Is Larry Nassar’s Alleged Abuse?
For decades, Nassar treated young female athletes at MSU, with USA Gymnastics, and in several gymnastic programs. He left USA Gymnastics with little notice in the fall of 2015, and wasn’t fired by MSU until nearly a year later in September 2016.
Nassar faces 28 charges of criminal sexual assault and possession of child pornography. More than 80 women have filed criminal complaints with MSU police, and more than 50 have filed civil lawsuits.
How Can I Pursue a Case Against MSU and Larry Nassar?
There are certain time perimeters, known as the statute of limitations, that restrict the time in which a civil lawsuit can be filed. It is believed that the statute of limitations requires Nassar’s victims to file any claims against Michigan State University within six months of receiving Athletic Director Hollis’s letter. If you were harmed by Dr. Nassar, it is critical that you speak with an attorney immediately to preserve your rights.
Coming forward can be difficult and painful, but please know that if you were a victim, you are not alone and we can guide you every step of the way. We urge you to speak up and add your voice to those of other women who suffered at the hands of Larry Nassar.
Please contact Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248) 746-4015.
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Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller focuses her practice on medical malpractice, automobile negligence, and general negligence litigation on behalf injured plaintiffs.