A former Michigan State University dean learned his fate in court Wednesday. William Strampel was Larry Nassar’s boss, the former sports doctor sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting hundreds of young athletes.
We were in court during sentencing and heard from survivors and their families both during and after his sentencing.
“What you did was not just inappropriate,” said Judge Draganchuk. “It was not just locker room talk or unfiltered frankness or toughness, it can’t even being characterized as sexual harassment.”
These are the words Judge Draganchuk shared with Strampel before reading his sentence Wednesday morning.
“Leah Jackson came to you with a dream and you squashed her and told her she wasn’t smart enough and if she wanted to help people, she should go work in a soup kitchen,” said Draganchuk. “The only person who could grant her request to advance in medical school was you.”
We heard from Jackson Wednesday in the courtroom.
“He was suppose to protect us, but he chose to betray us and he purposely threatened me with inappropriate and very uncomfortable sexual dialogue,” Jackson said, “I ask that you give him the max sentence, but I trust your judgment in making the right decision”
That decision was to sentence Strampel to one year in the Ingham County Jail.
The State Attorney General released a statement following the news saying, “while Mr. Strampel’s sentence will never give back the years of pain and suffering his victims had to endure, the persistence of these courageous survivors made certain that he could no longer hide behind the title he once held to escape the reach of justice.”
“The parents were hoping for justice today and I think we saw some of that,” said Valerie Von Frank. She said her daughter is a survivor in the Larry Nassar case. She’s involved in the Parents of Sister Survivors Engage group or “POSSE”. She tries to attend as many court dates surrounding the scandal as possible.
“It’s very important that the sister survivors there to know that people are behind them and that they have been heard and parents and families will be there for them,” Frank said.
But Frank also said this is only the first step in a long, long journey.
Our Kiyerra Lake asked Frank, “As a mother going through everything that you’ve been through with this trial and all the cases how do you find the strength to keep coming?”
“We rely on each other, we rely on each other just like the girls do,” Frank said.