Can State Lawmakers Prevent Another Nassar Scandal?

“How was this allowed to happen? Why didn’t we know earlier? How can we prohibit it from ever happening again?”

Jake Neher/WDET

Lawmakers at the state Capitol are considering new measures to crack down on sexual assault in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University.

Nassar, a former athletic doctor at MSU, is serving what amounts to a life sentence in prison for sexually abusing hundreds of girls and young women over many years.

WDET’s Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth talk about what the state Legislature might do to prevent future abuse.

The state House is considering dozens of bills that try to address issues of sexual abuse. They include bill packages that address:

“I don’t know that there’s anything that we’re going to be able to handle this year that’s going to be more important than what we’re doing right now,” said state Rep. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) before a state House committee last week. Theis is a bill sponsor.

“Like the rest of the county, while I was watching the testimonies of the victims of Nassar, I was heartsick,” she continued. “How was this allowed to happen? Why didn’t we know earlier? How can we prohibit it from ever happening again?”

MSU is under investigation for its handling of sexual assault complaints. Multiple women say they reported former MSU doctor Larry Nassar to MSU officials – but they did nothing.

As this and other legislation moves through the House and Senate, some groups have come forward with concerns about unintended consequences. Those groups include public universities and the Catholic Church.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Related stories:
Nassar Abuse Survivor Rachael Denhollander Looks to Change Michigan’s Sexual Assault Laws
Is John Engler The Right Person To Lead MSU?
What Is the Role of Universities in Protecting Student Athletes?
MSU Fallout Continues As Lawmakers Consider Action



  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.
  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.