Lou Anna Simon, the former President of Michigan State University, testified before a Senate committee on Tuesday — about how the university handled the Larry Nassar athlete abuse case. Lawmakers want to know what went wrong and how to keep it from happening again.
One Senator said all organizations involved have shown a culture of complicity and chaos. Another lawmaker said the organizations prioritizes money and medals more than athlete’s safety. Emails given to the committee ahead of this hearing indicate Penny instructed other officials not to talk about the Nassar allegations.
In her opening statement, Simon told lawmakers Larry Nassar’s abuse marks Michigan State University’s darkest hour. Simon said had she known Nassar was sexually abusing young women, she would have taken immediate action.
“To the survivors of Nassar’s abuse, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician turned out to be an evil predator,” Simon said. “I am sorry that we did not discover his crimes and remove him from our community sooner.”
Simon and Penny had to be subpoenaed in order to attend the hearing. Senator Richard Blumenthal said that lack of cooperation speaks volumes. The former head of the United States Olympic Committee, Scott Blackman — and the team coordinator, Marta Karolyi were supposed to testify, but could not make it to Washington, citing medical reasons.
They did submit written statements, but lawmakers said they eventually want to hear from those two witnesses and be able to ask questions in a public setting.