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Michigan State Univ. General Counsel in Trouble Over Nassar

By George Khoury, Esq. on January 31, 2018 3:10 PM

When the news broke that the once highly acclaimed gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar, was accused of child molestation and possession of child pornography, the Michigan State University community was probably more taken aback than any other. Nassar had not only practiced sports medicine for the university's athletes, he also taught osteopathic medicine.

As a result of the Nassar scandal, fingers are being pointed at the university's lawyers, and potentially rightly so. Recently, MSU's general counsel, Robert A. Noto, stepped down amid demands from the board. Noto, who has been the school's GC for almost 25 years, is not the only university lawyer to come under the microscope either.

When Saving Face Results in Face Planting

Kristine Moore, the former MSU attorney that worked as the associate director for institutional equity in the Office for Inclusion in 2014 when Amanda Thomashow's complaint was investigated, did something rather unusual. She created two versions of her Title IX report, and circulated one internally, including to Nassar, and sent the other version to the claimant.

Notably, the report sent to Thomashow left out a section stating her conclusions that the "conduct was not sexual" nor a violation of university policy, but that it was "helpful in that it [would allow the University] to examine certain practices at the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic." Unfortunately, that examination doesn't seem to have happened, and interestingly, after this incident, Moore was eventually promoted into the university's office of general counsel.

While Moore wasn't included in the first round of the Michigan AG's request for documents from MSU, as part of the investigation into how a university could let this even happen for so long, based on the report in the Atlantic, she will likely have her hands full for some time with a state bar complaint and more backlash from this very public incident.

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