Jury convicts former dean of Michigan State University’s (MSU) College of Osteopathic Medicine, William Strampel, on charges of misconduct in office and two counts of willful neglect of duty.
The former dean of Michigan State University’s (MSU) College of Osteopathic Medicine, William Strampel, has been convicted of “misconduct in office and two counts of willful neglect of duty but acquitted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct,” according to court documents. A dozen jurors in Ingham County Circuit Court delivered a split verdict against the ex-dean after five and a half hours of deliberation.
Strampel was also the former supervisor of sexual predator Larry Nassar. He allegedly made suggestive and inappropriate comments to several female students, grabbing one of the student’s buttocks. Misconduct in office is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge has a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The charges related to neglect of duty are misdemeanors. He is scheduled for sentencing on July 31.
Strampel was dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine from 1999 to 2018 and retired in July after being charged for misconduct by former Attorney General (AG) Bill Schuette in connection with the Nassar litigation. Current Attorney General Dana Nessel thanked the women whose testimony “helped ensure that William Strampel could no longer wield his power to prey on women,” adding, “The conviction emphasizes the need for cultural change in schools and medical communities that treat female students and doctors differently from male colleagues…Public officers who brandish their power to demean, insult, harass, objectify and abuse female students will be held accountable.”
Strampel’s attorney John Dakmak said his client had “mixed emotions” with regards to the verdict that was handed down, but “was happy with the jury’s decision not to convict him of second-degree criminal sexual conduct or a lesser charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.” Dakmak added, “The jury saw through a lot of allegations that fell flat.”
MSU spokesperson Emily Guerrant said, “We will continue addressing the culture that allowed such abhorrent behavior as we work on meaningful actions to be more aware and more accountable. We have improved our dean review process, improved patient-care policies and our College of Osteopathic Medicine is developing a forward-looking strategic plan to improve and assess the educational climate.”
“Will he receive jail time? That’s hard to determine at this point,” Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor Henning said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he did, but there’s no guarantee.” Henning added, “The criminal sexual conduct claim, the most serious of Strampel’s charges, was a difficult one to prove because it relied on the testimony of two alleged victims with little corroborating evidence,” adding that the acquittal does not equate to innocence, but “the jury clearly found there was not enough there to convict him.”
The verdict against Strampel comes as the AG’s office pursues an ongoing investigation into the university’s handling of complaints against Nassar. Former longtime head MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages is expected to return to court in the near future, as well, on charges that she” lied to a peace officer about her knowledge of Nassar’s crimes,” according to documents.