Engler accused of pressuring Nassar survivor to settle

Aubrey Yates
April 14, 2018

A sexual assault victim of former sports doctor Larry Nassar confronted Michigan State University officials on Friday, alleging the school's interim leader offered a payoff to settle her lawsuit and pressured her to do so without her attorney present.

Lorincz said Engler also told her that Rachael Denhollander, another Nassar victim, had provided him with an amount she would consider to settle with the university.

"My hope was that maybe if he actually met a survivor, he might become more empathetic to what we're experiencing", she said.

"We need a change in who's sitting in front of us", one man shouted in reference to Engler and the board.

"I felt like I was being bullied into saying something", she said.

Gymnast Kaylee Lorincz, standing with her coach, gives her victim impact statement during the seventh day of Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing on January 24, 2018, in Lansing, Michigan.

President Engler YOU wanted to talk about money, I wanted to talk about helping and healing. Engler explained new initiatives and changes, but said the university could not work together with survivors until the civil litigation was settled.

Engler's spokeswoman, Emily Gerkin Guerrant, said she was in the room during the conversation and does not remember the interim president offering a dollar figure.

In an interview following the Board of Trustees meeting, Lorincz said Engler brought up money about 12 times during the 45 minutes to an hour in which they met.

"The simple truth is we can not allow something this serious to be mishandled ever again", said Republican Rep. Kim LaSata of Berrien County's Bainbridge Township, who chairs the House subcommittee and helped lead a legislative probe of Michigan State.

Denhollander said she has never met with Engler.

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Lorincz reiterated it was not about money to her, she said.

"Anytime the parties or their agents discuss litigation without the presence of attorneys, it creates confusion and anxiety", White said. "That's what a civil case is about, money".

We sat in a conference room where I briefly told President Engler my story. In December, I described to you bits and pieces of my assault by Larry Nassar.

Denhollander said Lorincz and her mother told her about Engler's comments soon after the meeting. She said she made efforts to try to meet with him in the past months but was told he was not interested. "No one other than Kaylee has met with him".

She said she expressed an interest in working with the university to try to improve the way it has handled sexual assault cases on campus.

"He then proceeded to attack my attorneys, who had no idea that this meeting was taking place", she said.

"At this point, I was feeling pretty bad". "President Engler and his lawyer has just tried to coerce me into settling a lawsuit without my attorney present". Then, President Engler started saying how sad it was that hundreds of good osteopathic doctors at MSU are being judged by one, one bad doctor.

The meeting allegedly went downhill from there, particularly after Kaylee's mother, Lisa, broached the subject of the recent arrest of Nassar's boss at the school, Dean William Strampel, for allegedly groping and propositioning medical students and collecting nude pictures of students on his work computer.

"President Engler rolled his eyes and attempted to fluff it off and said, 'Oh that was no big deal, it was only just a slap on the butt, '" Lorincz told the trustees. "It was only just a slap on the butt, '" Lorincz said. "Larry (Nassar) did that to me too, and look how that turned out'". Students also accused Engler of not fully listening to their concerns during the public comment period, saying he appeared to instead be "texting" on his phone.

That's when Lorincz was cut off and told her time was up, as the crowd chanted, "Let her speak".

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