EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan State University stops payments from a $10 million fund set up to cover counseling services for Larry Nassar’s survivors.
University officials told 6 News today that it’s a temporary decision due to potential fraud.
Rachael Denhollander, a survivor of Larry Nassar’s abuse, and Attorney Jamie White say they’re disappointed but not surprised that M.S.U. has stopped payments from the fund.
Officials at M.S.U. say it was a necessary decision after fraud concerns surfaced on Tuesday. They say payments will not resume until an investigation is complete.
“Nothing M.S.U. does surprises me anymore,” said Denhollander. “Nothing.”
Denhollander says when she heard the news that M.S.U. stopped payments for victim counseling services, she was outraged.
“Sexual assault is absolutely devastating,” said Denhollander. “And you have survivors that are in need of medical services and counseling services, and they’re dependent on those funds to be able to procure that.”
But a statement sent to 6 News by M.S.U. Spokesperson Emily Guerrant says it was necessary decision for now.
It reads in-part: “We need to make sure that fraudulent claims are not being made to a fund intended to support survivors. We hope that needed services can continue.”
Attorney Jamie White represents forty-six Nassar survivors and he says non-payment is nothing new.
He says while the original agreement with M.S.U. stated that survivors would be reimbursed after they sought counseling, he’s tried to get reimbursement for many of his clients since March and says he’s been unsuccessful.
“We followed their instructions to a tee,” said White. “Not a dime has been sent to our office and these people remain uncompensated.”
Denhollander says she’s appalled that survivors who rely on the university for these services are now on their own for the cost.
“They’re managing to investigate when money is involved but they still haven’t investigated why they had the worst pedophile in higher education history on their campus,” said Denhollander. “So they can investigate when it affects money and they can’t investigate when it affects the sexual assault of children.”
According to the spokeswoman for M.S.U., as of last month the fund had paid out more than a million dollars to victims seeking counseling.
While she wouldn’t provide any further details into exactly what’s behind these fraud concerns, she does say the investigation officially started yesterday and officials don’t know long it will take.