At Michigan State, it was one sexual predator managing another, prosecutors now charge.
It was two pathetic doctors who saw women (or girls) as little more than objects to be used for their sexual desires.
Dr. William Strampel and Dr. Larry Nassar committed different crimes, prosecutors say. Nasssar, the employee, was a serial pedophile of desperate young athletes.
Strampel, the boss, was a predator using his status as Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine to “harass, demean, sexually proposition and sexually assault female students,” according to court documents.
That included pressuring desperate med students into providing sexual “favours” and nude photos, as well subjecting themselves to grabs, gropes and inappropriate comments in exchange for retaken exams, recommendations and the chance to get ahead.
Strampel, 70, was arrested Monday and has been charged with four counts.
Two, both misdemeanors, deal with “willful neglect of duty” in overseeing Nassar. Two others, including a felony charge, shed even a brighter light on the culture of the College of Osteopathic Medicine that Nassar used as his base to sexually abuse hundreds of female patients, some as young as 11 years old.
Strampel faces up to nine years in prison. He is scheduled for trial on Tuesday afternoon in district court in East Lansing. He’s currently housed at the Ingham County Jail.
The Strampel details are sickening.
The dean held power and was willing to wield it. He routinely glared at women sexually, made them spin around for him and suggested he send them nude photos or engage in sexual acts in exchange for preferential treatment from him, according to prosecutors.
He reminded them of his might and their vulnerability – young students piling on debt who could fail to graduate and thus have no doctor’s salary to eventually pay off their loans.
“I hold your entire future in my hand and I can do whatever I want with it,” Strampel told one alleged victim.
On multiple occasions, he allegedly told her to present herself to him so he could see her body. Once was in a group setting.
To another female student, he allegedly requested she stand and turn around before him while stating, “What do I have to do to teach you to be submissive and subordinate to men?”
The nude photo requests seemingly worked with many young female students.
A forensic examination of Strampel’s seized computer revealed “approximately 50 photos of bare vaginas, nude and semi-nude women, sex toys and pornography,” according to court documents.
“Many of these photos are what appear to be ‘selfies’ of female MSU students as evidenced by the MSU clothing and piercings featured in multiple shots.”
There was also a close-up video featuring masturbation and other photos that authorities allege were deleted.
And then there was perhaps the most vomit-inducing detail of the entire affair.
“Also uncovered on Strampel’s work computer were pornographic videos and a video of Dr. Larry Nassar performing ‘treatment’ on a young female patient.”
Nassar commonly abused his patients by placing his fingers inside them and declaring it a legitimate medical treatment.
That there was video of such a crime, let alone that Strampel may have watched it for pleasure (it could have been part of an investigation of some sort) is chilling and just adds an additional layer of recurring abuse to the victim.
That Strampel would find no fault in Nassar’s actions in the face of complaints is no longer a surprise.
That he would discount the claims of victims now makes sense. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 he told a group he didn’t believe any of Nassar’s accusers because “patients lie to get doctors in trouble.”
None of this was isolated, nor new. The affidavit filed by prosecutors state these actions occurred from 2012 “through 2018,” suggesting that even as Nassar was hauled away and controversy enveloped Strampel and MSU, little changed in his behavior or outlook.
It’s beyond troubling that MSU was apparently either unwilling or incapable of investigating Strampel.
Much of the evidence was found on his work computer, which the university owned and could have accessed.
Yet he is still employed by the school, having only taken a paid leave of absence as the dean in December 2017, after Nassar pled guilty to sexually assaulting 10 women.
Yet Michigan State officials never caught him? Did they even try? How could behavior this deplorable go unstopped and undiscovered by the most central figure other than Larry Nassar in the case? He should have been the first place anyone looked.
In a statement Monday, Michigan State acknowledged Strampel’s behavior was a longstanding problem but did not mention how he was able to get away with it, even 18 months after the Nassar scandal broke, presumably heightening sensitivity on campus to this type of behavior.
“Allegations have arisen that question whether [Strampel’s] personal conduct over a long period of time met MSU’s standards,” the statement said.
“We are sending an unmistakable message that we will remove employees who do not treat students, faculty, staff or anyone else in our community in an appropriate manner.”