A woman has filed a lawsuit against Michigan State University, saying she became pregnant after she was drugged and raped by Larry Nassar when he was a medical student in 1992 but that campus police refused to investigate.
The lawsuit was among dozens filed to meet a Monday deadline for legal claims against Michigan State, although the complaint might be too old to qualify for a share of $75 million set aside by the university for victims who aren’t part of a larger $425 million settlement.
Nassar, 55, became a sports doctor at MSU and for elite U.S. gymnasts but now is in prison for child pornography crimes and molesting female athletes with his hands.
The woman said she had a knee injury as a 17-year-old field hockey player and was encouraged to go to Nassar in 1992 because he was conducting a study about flexibility through the College of Osteopathic Medicine. The lawsuit alleges that Nassar drugged her, raped her and videotaped the assault.
She said she became pregnant and had a miscarriage.
George Perles, who was athletic director until spring 1992, was aware of the assault and covered it up, and campus police wouldn’t pursue it, according to the lawsuit. Perles also was football coach at the time and now is a member of the school’s governing board. A message seeking comment was left for him.
“While the protocols and procedures mentioned in this lawsuit do not reflect how sexual assault claims are handled at MSU, we are taking the allegations very seriously and looking into the situation,” Michigan State spokeswoman Emily Guerrant said Tuesday.
MSU police Chief Jim Dunlap said it’s “nonsense” that the department would have refused to investigate because Perles or the athletic department was involved.
“It just doesn’t happen. We just don’t do things that way,” said Dunlap, who was in the police department in 1992 but not the chief.
Merrily Dean Baker, who was athletic director after Perles, said she had “absolutely no knowledge” of the rape allegation at that time.
“I just think if this incident had been reported to the athletic department right before I started, I would have heard something about it,” Baker told the Lansing State Journal.