Fmr. MSU President Lou Anna Simon charged with lying to police in Nassar investigation

Posted at 2:47 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 17:09:07-05

Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon has been charged with lying to police in connection to the Larry Nassar investigation.

In all, Simon was charged with two felony counts of lying to a peace officer in a violent crime investigation and two misdemeanor counts of lying to a peace officer, 4 years or more crime investigation in Eaton County Court on Tuesday. She will be arraigned in court on Monday.

According to the warrant, Simon told Michigan State Police investigators that she was not aware of the nature of the complaint that generated the 2014 MSU Title IX investigation.

"When asked about whether she was aware of any investigation involving Larry Nassar prior to 2016 she falsely or misleadingly said that 'I was aware that in 2014 there was a sports medicine doc who was subject to a review' when in fact she knew it was Larry Nassar who was the subject of the 2014 MSU Title IX investigation," the charging document reads.

A spokesperson for Michigan State University said they are aware of the charges and Simon will be taking an immediate leave of absence to focus on her legal situation.

On Jan. 24, Simon resigned as Michigan State's president, just hours after Nassar was sentenced. In her resignation letter, Simon said it is only natural that she is the focus of the public's anger. 

Read the full letter below:

Members of the Board of Trustees:

The last year and a half has been very difficult for the victims of Larry Nassar, for the university community, and for me personally.  To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment.  I know that we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert such tragedies here and elsewhere.

As you and many in the Spartan family know, I planned to retire in December 2016, and we had begun a conversation about a smooth transition.  Then the Indianapolis Star article appeared about USAG and one of the victims contacted MSU police to file a complaint.  The MSU Police investigation commenced.  Nassar’s employment was terminated shortly thereafter.  Work began within the HealthTeam and other areas of the university to improve safety.  Given the challenges, my transition was postponed.  I appreciate the support you provided. 

The survivors’ accounts are horrific.  They are tragic, heartbreaking, and personally gut-wrenching.  I take solace that many victims have indicated that the opportunity to confront Nassar is a step toward healing.  I am proud of the exceptional work of the Special Victims Unit led by Lieutenant Andrea Munford with the steadfast leadership of Chief Dunlap.  I am proud of my support of their work even though the results have been very painful to all who watched.

As Nassar’s legal journey to prison was drawing to a close, more and more negative attention was focused on Michigan State University, and on me.  I am pleased that statements have been made by Mr. Fitzgerald and Board members about my integrity and the fact that there is no cover-up.  I support wholeheartedly the Board’s decision to ask the Attorney General’s Office to review the events surrounding the Nassar matter.  This is an important step toward providing more assurance to the university community and to the public.  In the past, I have provided assurances to the Attorney General of my full cooperation, and I will continue to do so.

As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable.  As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger.  I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements.   Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first.  Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU.  I have tried to make it not about me.  I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now.  Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a principled person.  I have spent my entire professional career, more than 40 years, at MSU.  I love this place.  I have watched it grow and prosper, and it has been the honor and privilege of my life to serve as its president since 2005, and over the last few years, to have the opportunity to work with all of you toward our shared goals for MSU. I will continue to do whatever I can to help MSU prosper in the future as a Spartan in whatever role I may play.


Lou Anna K. Simon, President
John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor 

Many called for Simon's resignation, including senators, lawmakers and Nassar survivors.

Students have also been vocal about the need for President Simon to step down.  'The Rock' on campus is painted with this message: TIMES UP CHANGE LOU ANNA.  

"I don't know how we bounce back from this," said MSU freshman, Kevin Manzur.

The weeks of courtroom statements from the victims of Larry Nasser are weighing heavily on students.

"It's sad to know our school has a bad name and the only national news we've been making is all the cases against Larry Nasser," said sophomore, Olive Autrey.

Students who spoke with 7 Action News said the resignation is the right step.

"I feel like there needs to have a change, like how 'The Rock' says, I completely agree with it, time's up," said sophomore Jazmyn Bradford.