Crimes and Court

Lawsuit alleges that school’s board of trustees made “secret decisions” to refuse to hand over 6,000 documents related to their handling of the case

Victims of disgraced USA gymnastics physician Larry Nassar have sued Michigan State University — where Nassar was employed — over the school’s refusal to release documents pertaining to the case.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, alleges that the school’s board of trustees made “secret decisions” that resulted in the withholding of over 6,000 documents that the university was ordered to hand over to the state attorney general’s office. The university had previously argued the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege.

“This is about who knew what, when at the university,” Nassar survivor Melissa Brown Hudecz said in a statement (via the Associated Press). “We can’t heal as a community until we know that everyone who enabled a predator is accountable. By protecting the 6,000 secret documents and anyone named in them, the board is adding to survivors’ trauma with their lack of institutional accountability.”

Michigan State University — which has long been criticized for its handling of the Nassar situation — had already settled with Nassar victims for $500 million, but the new lawsuit seeks accountability, not monetary damages.

“Something happened, something happened behind closed doors,” attorney Azzam Elder said of the lawsuit, the Detroit News reports.

“We contend that board members made a behind-closed-doors secret decision not to release the records in blatant violation of the Open Meetings Act. They followed that up with violations of the Freedom of Information Act when we requested emails that might show they discussed and made a closed-door decision on the matter in violation of law.”


Nassar was effectively sentenced to life in prison in 2018 following a string of guilty pleas and convictions on child pornography and sexual assault charges. The doctor abused an estimated 300 young athletes — including Olympic gold medalists like Simone Biles, Aly Raisin, and McKayla Maroney — under the guise of medical treatment during his time as a team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. 

Earlier this month, Nassar was stabbed multiple times in the back and the chest during an altercation with another inmate. He survived.