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Chicago (AFP) – William Strampel, former boss of serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar who assaulted hundreds of American athletes, will himself face trial over allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse of office, a judge decided Tuesday.
Strampel is the former dean of Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, where Nassar practiced sports medicine.
It was one of the locations where the 54-year-old Nassar sexually assaulted women and girls over a two-decade period under the guise of medical treatment, including US Olympic champions Aly Raisman and Simone Biles.
The 70-year-old Strampel was Nassar’s direct supervisor at the university in Lansing, Michigan. An ongoing criminal probe of the university’s handling of Nassar abuse allegations led to charges that Strampel also engaged in sexual misconduct.
A Michigan state judge ruled at a Tuesday hearing that there was enough evidence for Strampel to stand trial on a misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct charge and a felony count of misconduct in office.
Strampel has also been charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty for failing to adequately supervise Nassar. Those charges did not require a judge’s ruling to move to trial court.
Prosecutors allege Strampel used his office to “harass, discriminate, demean, sexually proposition, and sexually assault female students.”
They also claim Strampel coerced female students to send him pornographic images of themselves.
Strampel’s lawyer John Dakmak told reporters after the hearing Tuesday that the judge’s ruling was not a surprise and that the defense would offer more evidence at trial court.
“There’s going to be more to be told,” Dakmak said, according to the Lansing State Journal.
The university in May reached a $500 million settlement with the 332 women and girls identified as Nassar victims, as it tries to turn the page from the scandal — the biggest in US Olympic history.
The scandal has had far-reaching ripple effects — ending careers at USA Gymnastics, the Olympic committee and at the university.
Nassar was sentenced in January to spend the rest of his life in prison.
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