Michigan State fined $4.5 million

Photo: Michigan State Spartans
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Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government on Thursday ordered Michigan State University to make sweeping changes and pay a $4.5 million fine after determining that it failed to adequately respond to sexual assault complaints against Larry Nassar, a former campus sports doctor who molested elite gymnasts and other female athletes.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the penalty after the conclusion of two federal investigations. She said Nassar's actions were "disgusting and unimaginable" and that the university's response fit the same description.

"Too many people in power knew about the behaviors and the complaints and yet the predators continued on the payroll and abused even more students," DeVos said in a call with reporters. "This must not happen again, there or anywhere else."

The fine is the largest levied under the Clery Act , a federal law that requires colleges to collect data on campus crime and notify students of threats. The previous largest fine, $2.4 million, was imposed in 2016 against Pennsylvania State University over its handling of sexual misconduct involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The department's investigation concluded that Michigan State violated several key parts of the Clery Act along with Title IX, a federal law forbidding discrimination based on gender in education.