Rachael Denhollander responds to John Engler supporter Dan Kelly
Several Michigan State University trustees made it clear that they believe Michigan State interim president John Engler should resign since a disparaging e-mail he sent to Carol M. Viventi, the vice president and special counsel to the president, in April about one of the women who disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician Larry Nassar sexually assaulted was revealed.
That woman, Rachael Denhollander, was the first woman who publicly accused Nassar of sexual assault when she did so just before The Indianapolis Star published her story in September of 2016, which was just three months before Nassar was finally arrested.
Nassar, the 54-year-old who has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 300 people, of whom many are female gymnasts, under the guise of medical treatment for more than two decades, is currently serving a 60-year federal prison sentence that he was given this past December on three child pornography charges. He is serving this sentence at United States Penitentiary, Tucson in Tucson, Arizona.
Nassar was also given two state prison sentences in January and February. The first state prison sentence that he was given was given to him on seven sexual assault charges following a seven-day sentencing hearing in an Ingham County, Michigan courtroom. That sentence is for between 40 and 175 years.
At that sentencing hearing, 156 of the women who have accused Nassar of sexual assault delivered victim impact statements. Denhollander was the 156th and final one of those 156 women who did so. She did so on the seventh and final day of that hearing.
In February, Nassar was sentenced to between an additional 40 and 125 years in state prison on three more sexual assault charges following a three-day sentencing hearing.
In this e-mail, Engler claimed that Denhollander was likely receiving a "kickback" from her lawyer, John Manly. Here is what this disparaging e-mail said, 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.”
Two Michigan State trustees, Brian Mosallam and Dianne Byrum, responded to finding out about this e-mail by saying that they believe Engler, who replaced former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon when she resigned in the wake of the Nassar scandal in January, should step down.
Here is what Mosallam had to say, 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."
Here is what Byrum had to say, according to ABC News.
"He's the wrong leader for Michigan State University. He needs to step down and resign."
Denhollander tweeted in response to trustee Dan Kelly saying that he does not support asking Engler to resign. Here is what Kelly had to say about the matter, according to Detroit News.
"I don't support asking the president to resign. The university needs some stability."
Here is how Denhollander responded.
Whether or not Engler ends up resigning remains to be seen at this point, but it is overwhelmingly clear that the pressure is building for the former Michigan governor to do so.