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Not Even Larry Nassar Can

Hide from FOIA


By Ursula Krause

Wayne State University Student Journalist

Photo by Jon Szczepaniak


Wayne State University hosted a panel with Kelley Root (far left), State Sen. Jeremy Moss (middle left), Kathy Barks
Hoffman (middle right), and Mark Rochester (far right) at the FOIA Fest on Saturday, Oct. 12

Detroit News reporter Kim Kozlowski explained how the Freedom of Information Act
exposed Larry Nassar in the sex scandal story at the 2019 FOIA Fest on Saturday, Oct. 12. She
said Nassar, a former coach for the U.S. Gymnastics team, as well as an osteopathic physician at
Michigan State University, was convicted in 2016 for sexually abusing women for many years.

Kozlowski said gymnast, Rachel Denhollander, was the first to publicly accuse Nassar of
sexually abusing her since she was a young girl. She said the knowledge of this wrong behavior
was reported to MSU Gymnastics coach, Kathie Klages, by many other victims of Nassar’s
assault, which led to the coach’s resignation. Kozlowki said Nassar was fired from MSU after
Denhollander stood up to him.

“I’ve always found it astonishing that after he was fired in September, he took his work
computer and took it to a place where he had the full operating system wiped out,” said
Kozlowski. “And then he took a couple of hard drives, and threw them in the trash can, and
that’s how the police found all the child pornography that he was in possession of.” She said he
had around 38,000 images and videos on the hard drives that he had tried to get rid of.

Kozlowski said MSU was told by many people that these women were being abused, and
nothing was done to address it. “People can hold Larry Nassar accountable, but also MSU,” she
said. She said while covering the story in 2017, Detroit News reporter, Frank Donnelly filed a
FOIA request to uncover the sources of the scandal that were not available for the public to view,
such as Nassar’s personnel file. She said MSU responded in two weeks with 140 pages of
information.

“The world was riveted,” said Kozlowski. “Everyone was talking about Larry Nassar.”
She said more FOIA requests were filed as people asked why Nassar was able to “flourish” for
so long. She said it took months to get the requests back, and that some even required
unreasonable fees. She said redactions were made as well.

Koslowski said information on William Strample, Nassar’s boss, was received through
request, and a FOIA document was not needed for it. She also said due to controversies, people
directed FOIA requests toward the MSU Assistance Fund for information on the families
involved and the assistance they received.

Kozlowski said after Lou Anna Simon, former Michigan State University president,
resigned in January of 2018, a FOIA request was filed for information on “what people were
saying to her at the height of the crisis when all these women were stepping forward talking
about what Larry Nassar did.”
Kozlowski said they did not receive the approved FOIA request until September of 2018.
“We fought with them for months,” she said. “They charged us $1600, but we finally did get it.”

Kozlowski said former Michigan State University provost, June Youatt, knew
information about William Strample and how he was incarcerated for how he had failed to
oversee Nassar as his boss, along with other accusations he had received in his position. “She
stepped down, but that didn’t mean she left the university.” Kozlowski said Youatt was no longer
going to be provost, and that her contract stated “once she left her position as provost, she could
take six months off for research and six months off for a sabbatical at her full salary, which was
just under $500,000.”

Kozlowski said that recently she was able to ask for new MSU President, Samuel L.
Stanley Jr.'s contract and received it without a FOIA. “Hopefully there is a change at Michigan
State.”