Former MSU President Arraigned on Charges Tied to Larry Nassar Sex Abuse Scandal
By Julie Mack
The last time Lou Anna K. Simon was in a courtroom because of Larry Nassar, Simon was still president of Michigan State University and she was watching women detail their sexual abuse by Nassar, a former MSU sports-medicine doctor.
Monday, it was Simon herself standing before a judge.
Simon -- who resigned as MSU president days after her January courtroom appearance -- was arraigned Monday on charges of lying to police about her knowledge of a 2014 incident involving Nassar's abuse of a patient at the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic.
Simon appeared before Judge Julie Reincke in Eaton County District Court in Charlotte. She faces two felony and two misdemeanor counts of lying to a peace officer.
Simon was freed on a personal recognizance bond of $5,000, and a conference hearing was set for Dec. 18 to discuss her preliminary hearing.
Flanked by her two lawyers, the former MSU president stared intently at Reincke as the judge read the charges, nodding at times as Reincke explained her rights.
Simon was then led away to be booked and fingerprinted. She was told that she must submit to a DNA test, surrender her passport and she cannot leave the state without the court's permission.
Each felony charge carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. The misdemeanor charges carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison and/or a $5,00 fine.
Simon is accused of lying about her knowledge surrounding the Title IX complaint filed by Amanda Thomashow, a medical student who reported Nassar for assaulting her in March 2014.
Thomashow, who had hip pain, said that Nassar massaged her breast and genital area during the exam.
But the complaint didn't result in criminal charges and university officials cleared him to return to work. Nassar went on to abuse at least 20 more patients.
In a May 1 interview by Michigan State Police at their Dimondale offices, Simon said she was aware in 2014 that a MSU doctor was "under review," but didn't know his name or the details.
Those statements were "false and misleading," State Police Detective Sgt. Bill Arndt told Reincke while getting her authorization for an arrest warrant.
In fact, Simon was briefed on the complaint three days after Thomashow was interviewed by a Title IX investigator, Arndt told Reincke.
"Documentary evidence" from that briefing -- including handwritten notes -- show that Simon learned Nassar's identity and "the nature of the allegations" during the meeting, Arndt said.
Although Simon resigned as MSU president in January, her contract guaranteed 12 months of research leave, during which she was receiving 100 percent of her base presidential salary of $750,000.
MSU said last week that Simon was taking an unpaid leave "to focus on her legal situation."
Nassar, who is accused of molesting hundreds of his patients under the guise of medical treatment, is now serving a life sentence in federal prison.
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