'Culture of silence' alleged in Larry Nassar victims' lawsuits

Ruben Hill
April 20, 2018

A press conference is being held regarding lawsuits filed against Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics and the International Gymnastics Federation, in relation to sexual abuse by Nassar.

Attorneys Mo Aziz of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz, Texas attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel, and MI attorney James White, all filed lawsuits on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 alleging that women ranging from age 14 to age 41 were sexually molested by Larry Nassar.

At the time of the abuse, Nassar was employed as a Michigan State University team doctor and working as the USA Team Gymnastics doctor.

The university announced Thursday Bonnie Knutson and Michael Kaplowitz will serve as senior advisers to school officials. "But for me, my focus is going to be on the academic integrity of the athletics program and focusing on the welfare of the student athlete".

The lawsuit also alleges that USA Gymnastics breached its duty to reveal the abuse to the victims' families, as well as the U.S. Olympic Committee, Michigan State University, and law enforcement agencies. "Their expertise related to university governance, their rapport with students and in Michael's case, a former athlete himself, will serve the council well".

Knutson is a past-president of the advisory council for the Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the MSU Alumni Association National Board. She also served twice as the interim director of the School of Hospitality Business.

While MSU has had only one representative in the past, other schools in the Big Ten have two representatives. She received her undergraduate degree and doctorate from Michigan State and joined the faculty in 1986.

Kaplowitz served as the CSUS department chair from 2011-16 and is a College of Law adjunct professor.

MSU hospitality professor Bonnie Knutson and environmental policy professor Michael Kaplowitz will represent the faculty in policy matters related to student athletes. He played Division III soccer at Union College before earning his doctorate from MSU in 1997 and joined the faculty that same year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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