State Rep. Klint Kesto, chair of the House Law and Justice Committee, is drafting legislation to ban Michigan’s colleges and universities from using state funding to settle any legal claims related to sexual misconduct.
The legislation is in response to the growing scandal involving a former Michigan State University physician who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting patients during the course of his duties while working for USA Gymnastics and the school.
“The details of this case grow more abhorrent by the day,” said Kesto, of Commerce Township. “This individual took advantage of and violated over 100 girls. While the health of these young women is most important, it’s obvious that the civil legal process will continue to unfold over the next few months and years. We have to protect taxpayers by ensuring not a single dime of state funding sent to Michigan State University is used as part of a settlement with these unfortunate victims.”
Dr. Larry Nassar, the former MSU physician, has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography related to material seized from his personal residence. He also pleaded guilty in November in Ingham County Circuit Court to criminal sexual conduct charges involving seven victims.
In response to the case, MSU officials have established a $10 million fund to cover mental health services for the approximately 150 victims in this case. Kesto is concerned after hearing recent media reports that USA Gymnastics reached a $1.25 million settlement with one victim in December 2016.
“These women deserve justice, but it should be the responsibility of the MSU administration to address that,” Kesto said. “Penn State is paying the high costs of its own recent scandal to the tune of $110 million. The settlements relating to the Nassar case should not be paid for by the current students at Michigan State or the taxpayers as a whole.”