Michigan State president steps down following Nassar scandal

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Michigan State University's President Lou Anna Simon submitted her resignation Wednesday following the controversy surrounding how the school handled accusations against Larry Nassar.

Simon's announcement came hours after the sentencing for Nassar, who was convicted for molesting young girls and women while working at Michigan State as a doctor.

The resignation letter was posted on the school's website.

The last year and a half has been very difficult for the victims of Larry Nassar, for the university community, and for me personally.  To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment.  I know that we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert such tragedies here and elsewhere.

Nassar was sentenced Wednesday for up to 175 years in prison. Over 160 women spoke directly to Nassar during his sentencing hearing that lasted seven days.

During the victim impact statements, many of Nassar's victims directed blame towards the university for mishandling past complaints about Nassar.

A Title IX investigation conducted by the university cleared Nassar of sexual assault allegations in 2014. A Michigan State University police report indicated that as least 12 other reported sexual assaults occurred after the probe ended. Michigan State officials have denied accusations the school covered up misconduct by school administrators.

Rachael Denhollander was one of the first victims to accuse Nassar of inappropriate sexual misconduct. She was the last victim to provide a powerful statement in court during Nassar's sentencing.

"President Simon and board of trustees, is this the right way to handle disclosures of abuse on MSU's campus?," asked Denhollander.

Simon took over as school president in 2005. The university is facing dozens of lawsuits from women who say school officials wrote off complaints about Nassar, who also worked with USA Gymnastics.

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