Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon, who stepped down from her 13-year reign back in January following numerous calls for her removal amid the Nassar scandal, is now being charged with lying to police during the investigation.
Simon was charged Tuesday in Eaton County District Court with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts for allegedly lying during a May 1 interview with state police.
She is accused of making two false and misleading statements, telling officials that she was unaware of the nature of the initial sexual misconduct complaint against Larry Nassar that launched a 2014 Title IX investigation, and that she only knew that a sports medicine doctor, not Nassar specifically, was under investigation, according to AP News.
If convicted, Simon could face up to four years in prison. Her arraignment is scheduled for Monday.
Attorney Lee Silver, who represents Simon, called the charges “completely baseless”.
MSU interim President John Engler said in a statement that the university is “aware of the charges brought today against former President Simon” and that Simon is taking “an immediate leave of absence, without pay, to focus on her legal situation.”
Simon announced her resignation just hours after Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for the sexual abuse of athletes he treated during his long-standing career at the East Lansing school.
Following her resignation, Simon’s contract allowed for a year-long research leave at her full presidential salary, after which she could assume her faculty position in the school’s department of educational administration.
MSU will pay for Simon’s legal fees. The school is also paying legal fees for former gymnastics coach Kathie Klages and for part of the criminal defense of former dean William Strampel, reports The Lansing State Journal.
Klages was the women’s gymnastics coach for 27 seasons and is accused of discouraging Nassar victims from filing complaints. She was charged in August with lying to an investigator.
Strampel, who oversaw Nassar, was charged back in March with criminal sexual conduct involving female medical school students.
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