Michigan State University has violated federal law by failing for years to accurately disclose crime statistics, including the sex crimes of serial pedophile Larry Nassar, according to findings from the U.S. Department of Education.
The Detroit News reports that the department also says the university has failed for years to issue timely warnings of other crimes on campus, mostly robberies and burglaries.
The Department of Education report, based on a 2018 investigation that began as Nassar was imprisoned for sexually abusing girls and young women, evaluated the university's compliance with the Clery Act, which requires the disclosure of crimes on or near campus through statistical reports and warnings to students and staff.
The findings outline 11 "representative sample of incidents" dating to 1997 involving complaints against Nassar that were not included in MSU's crime statistics.
"None of these crimes were ever recorded through any of the University’s normal incident reporting processes, and, as a result, were never included in any of Michigan State’s crime statistics disclosures," the report says. "These violations date back to at least 1997, and involve victims, many of whom were minors at the time of the abuse, who reported these incidents to trusted adults, including coaches and athletic trainers."
The report also found evidence that MSU's Sexual Assault Program "did not produce or maintain adequate documentation about crimes that were reported, and did not provide data for inclusion in the University’s crime statistics because officials and staff believed that they were exempt from Clery Act reporting requirements."
The university says it will focus on improving accurate and transparent campus crime reporting to comply with the Clery Act.
“The safety and well-being of our campus community is our top priority,” says MSU acting President Satish Udpa. “The Nassar crimes caused so much pain to so many people, and we have more work to do to address those issues and support the survivors and our community. We welcome the opportunity to work with experts to review and strengthen areas as we renew our commitment to improve.”
Besides MSU's failure to report the Nassar crimes, the report identified several areas of noncompliance by the university, including failing to issue timely warnings to students and staff as required by federal regulations.
The report highlighted 21 instances between 2011 and 2016 in which MSU did not promptly warn students and staff about other crimes, mostly burglaries and robberies.