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Rachael Denhollander responds to John Engler's disparaging e-mail

Asher Fair
SENIOR ANALYST
News
181   //    17 Jun 2018, 11:02 IST

US-JUSTICE-NASSAR
Rachael Denhollander

After a disparaging e-mail sent in April by Michigan State University interim president John Engler to Carol M. Viventi, the vice president and special counsel to the president, was revealed, two Michigan State trustees stated that they believe Engler should resign from his position at the university.

Engler, the former Michigan governor, took over as interim president at Michigan State following the resignation of former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon, who served as the university's president for more than 13 years, back in late January in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal.

In this disparaging e-mail, Engler claimed that Rachael Denhollander, who was the first of more than 300 people to accuse Nassar, the 54-year-old disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician who sexually assaulted his patients under the guise of medical treatment, of sexual assault, was likely receiving a "kickback" from her attorney, John Manly.

Here is what Engler said in this e-mail, 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.”

Michigan State trustee Brian Mosallam responded when he heard about this e-mail, and his response was not favorable toward Engler. Here is what he had to say about the matter, according to ABC News.

"He needs to resign immediately. He lacks empathy. He lacks the tone needed to be university president. His comments regarding Rachel Denhollander are unconscionable. He is not fit to lead Michigan State."

The response of Michigan State trustee Dianne Byrum was also not at all favorable toward Engler. Here is what she had to say about the matter, according to ABC News.

"He's the wrong leader for Michigan State University. He needs to step down and resign."

Denhollander herself also responded to finding out about Engler's disparaging e-mail about her. Here is what she had to say about the matter, according to ABC News.

"I think Engler has made it very clear that he’s not capable of leading MSU out of this crisis. To characterize not just myself as manipulating for money, but to characterize all these other women as pawns, as being too stupid to know that they’re manipulated, is a gross mischaracterization of sexual assault survivors that is going to set the tone on campus."

While Nassar himself is locked up for life, as he is currently serving the 60-year federal prison sentence that he was given this past December on three child pornography charges at United States Penitentiary, Tucson in Tucson, Arizona and he was also given two state prison sentences in January and February of between 40 and 175 years and between an additional 40 and 125 years on seven sexual assault charges and three sexual assault charges, respectively, there is still plenty of work to be done to hold his protectors, defenders and enablers accountable for failing to stop his predatory behavior, which went on for over two decades.

Michigan State is one of these enablers, and while they reached a $500 million settlement with 332 of the people who have accused Nassar of sexual assault, there is still work to be done there to ensure that nothing like what happened with Nassar happens again. Engler's disparaging e-mail about Denhollander proves this.

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