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Disparaging e-mail from Michigan State interim president revealed

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John Engler
Asher Fair
Modified 15 Jun 2018, 06:35 IST

A disparaging e-mail sent by Michigan State University interim president John Engler, the former governor of Michigan, to Carol M. Viventi, the vice president and special counsel to the president, back in mid-April was revealed.

In this e-mail, Engler suggested that Rachael Denhollander, who was the first person to publicly accuse disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician Larry Nassar of sexual assault when she took her story to The Indianapolis Star shortly before it was published in September of 2016, was probably receiving a "kickback" from her attorney, John Manly.

Engler became the interim president of Michigan State University when former president Lou Anna Simon resigned in the wake of the Nassar scandal.

Nassar, 54, is set to spend the rest of his life behind bars after he was given three lengthy prison sentences from December of 2017 to February of this year. The sentence that he is currently serving at United States Penitentiary, Tucson in Tucson, Arizona is a 60-year federal prison sentence that he was given in December on three child pornography charges.

He was also sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in state prison on seven sexual assault charges in January in an Ingham County, Michigan courtroom following a seven-day sentencing hearing during which 156 of the women and girls who have accused him of sexual assault, including Denhollander, delivered victim impact statements.

Nassar's third and final prison sentence was given to him in February in an Eaton County, Michigan courtroom. He was sentenced to between 40 and 125 more years in state prison on three additional sexual assault charge following a three-day sentencing hearing during which 65 more of the women and girls who have accused him of sexual assault delivered victim impact statements.

Here is what Engler stated in the e-mail from mid-April that was revealed, according to Deadspin.

“It is deeply appreciated. At least we know what really happened. The survivors now are being manipulated by trial lawyers who in the end will each get millions of dollars more than any of (sic) individual survivors with the exception of Denhollander who is likely to get (sic) kickback from Manley (sic) for her role in the trial lawyer manipulation.
“It is too bad we can’t have a debate about who is really trying to help those who were harmed by Nassar. At least, all of the positive changes are beginning to get some modest attention. It will be years before the use and abuse by trial lawyers point is understood. Have a good Sunday. See you Tuesday morning. John.”

To see that Engler made these remarks about Denhollander is not surprising given the fact that he also tried to pay Kaylee Lorincz, a 19-year-old gymnast who is one of the more than 300 others who have accused Nassar of sexual assault, $250,000 when he denied her request to work with Michigan State University in an attempt to improve the way the university has handles sexual assault cases on campus.


It was also not surprising given the fact that in his discussion with Lorincz, Engler falsely accused Denhollander of meeting with him to have her "give him a number" in regard to a money amount.

Denhollander claims that she has tried to meet with Engler but was denied the opportunity to do so, as he was not interested in a meeting. She denied his claims that she was doing "backroom deals" with him.

Published 15 Jun 2018, 06:35 IST
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