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Kate Wells

“How you doing, kiddo?” Judge Donald Allen asked a 17-year-old witness who’d just wrapped up a long, disturbing story of sexual assault that she says has damaged both her ability to trust and her desire to be touched. “That wasn’t fun,” she admitted, her eyes red and wet for the first time since she took the stand.

“Better than the dentist?” the judge joked.

“I’d much rather go to the dentist,” she replied.

lower half of gymnast on balance beam
James Thomas/flickr creative commons

Former Olympic gymnastics and Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar will be back in district court in Mason today. He'll face some of the women and girls who claim he sexually abused them while he was supposed to be treating their injuries.

MSU football players approach the field
Matt Radick / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

So here’s what we know: on Tuesday, the attorney for a woman accusing three MSU football players of rape, told the press that MSU’s internal Title IX investigation found all three men in violation of school policy.

“What I can share is that the Title IX investigation is complete,” says Karen Truszkowski, the lawyer for the accuser. “[MSU’s investigator] did a very fair, reasonable, thorough investigation. And the report does say that three young men involved in this are in violation of a university policy.”

Kate Wells

The courtroom was ready for an intense day: this is, after all, a case in which the defendant has been accused of sexual assault by not just the seven women and girls in this particular hearing, but by more than 80 complainants thus far, according to the Michigan State Police.

It was just the first of what may well be three days of testimony, as 55th District Court Judge Donald Allen weighs whether there’s enough evidence against Dr. Larry Nassar, former MSU sports doctor and  Olympic gymnastics team physician, to go to trial in this case.

Michigan State University

Former Detroit Tigers great Kirk Gibson plans to talk about dealing with obstacles when he addresses Michigan State University graduates during commencement ceremonies later today.

“Hopefully I’ll give them some insight in how to deal with that and move on and be productive and accomplish their goals,” says Gibson.

Gibson is facing a major obstacle himself as he battles with Parkinson’s disease.

He was diagnosed with the progressive neurological illness two years ago. 

Michigan State University is asking a court to decide whether it has to release police and arrest records related to a highly publicized investigation. The records are related to the criminal investigation into an alleged sexual assault that may involve members of the Spartan football team.

The sports network ESPN filed a request for the records under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. But the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office says releasing the records could interfere with the criminal investigation.

Drew, Cooper & Anding / YouTube Video

Since Rachael Denhollander went public with her accusations against former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar in September, more than 80 women and girls have come forward with similar complaints.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new Michigan State University survey finds most Americans remain ignorant of the signs of mental illness and drug use.

The survey found most Americans can't recognize anxiety, don’t know what to do about depression and don’t recognize prescription drug abuse as a treatable problem.

MSU professor Mark Skidmore says, while more education is needed, progress is being made.

Larissa Boyce's scrapbook photos from the MSU Spartan youth gymnastics program
Courtsey of Larissa Boyce

What happens when a child reports sexual abuse, but adults don’t believe them?

City of Flint

A program to mow and maintain vacant lots is having a side effect in Flint: lower crime rates in those neighborhoods, including assaults, burglaries and robberies.

A Michigan State University researcher compared crime data to neighborhoods with active “clean and green” abandoned lots. He says his survey of crime stats from 2005 to 2014 shows crime rates decline as “clean and green” lots take hold.

Flickr Creative Commons

Four more former patients, including a 14-year-old dancer, are suing former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar for sexual abuse.

They join more than 80 other women and girls who claim Nassar abused them under the guise of treatment.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, one woman says Nassar abused her around 1992 to 1993, when he was still in medical school at MSU. A spokesman for MSU confirmed Nassar graduated in 1993.

Alberto Ortiz/Flicker

They're stunned, confused and outraged.

"I'm not a lawyer and have only a very basic understanding of our legal system,” says former Olympic gymnast Jamie Dantzscher, in an affidavit filed in federal court Tuesday. 

Brian Turner / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Lawyers for dozens of women who say they were sexually assaulted by a MSU sports doctor are trying to overturn a judge's gag order.

They asked a federal judge to intervene Tuesday and strike an order that bars attorneys and Larry Nassar's alleged victims from talking publicly. Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina is overseeing a criminal case against Nassar and says his rights could be violated if the public is repeatedly served with negative comments about him.

Forty-four years ago, in another early spring, a young lawyer went to the President of the United States and told him, “There's no doubt about the seriousness of the problem we've got. We have a cancer within -- close to the presidency, that's growing. It's growing daily. It's compounding. It grows geometrically now, because it compounds itself.”

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Here’s the big question: Did a judge just block 80-plus women and girls from talking about their sexual assault allegations against former Olympic gymnastics and MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar?

Or does today’s order to “limit public disclosure” just mean that attorneys with civil suits against Nassar can’t call him a pedophile on Facebook?

Depends who you ask. And even some of the lawyers mentioned in this brief say they don’t totally understand how to interpret the order.

Nassar’s defense: We can’t get a fair trial without judge’s help

Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Records show a Michigan State University doctor resigned in January after learning the school was considering her termination because she didn't disclose that USA Gymnastics was investigating Dr. Larry Nassar.

MSU staff allegedly told the gymnastics team not to cooperate with authorities investigating sexual assault allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar
Flickr/Betsy Weber

Members of the MSU women's gymnastics team were told to say "no comment" to any reporters or police asking about sexual abuse allegations against the team physician, Dr. Larry Nassar.

That’s according to a lawsuit (which you can read here) filed by a scholarship student on the team, who also says she was repeatedly assaulted by Nassar as a child.

A team meeting in September 

Shelby Kroske, MSU Libraries

 

Michigan State University historian Liam Brockey has spent years studying the history of Catholicism. Now, that scholarship is generating something unexpected: Oscar buzz.

Brockey served as a consultant on legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s latest work “Silence,” the story of two Portuguese Jesuit priests who travel to Japan in the 1640's to find their lost mentor.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Many students received digital devices for Christmas and Hanukah presents this year. 

But a new Michigan State University study suggests the students should not go online when they return to class.

Chestnut tree.
user Tommy1969 / Flickr - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

This is the big time of year for Michigan’s fledgling chestnut industry.

From Nat King Cole to Justin Bieber, singers sing the praises of chestnuts this time of year.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Aggregate funding for Michigan's public universities in the next state budget will still be less than it was before a major cut five years ago, despite Gov. Rick Snyder's initial proposal to bring them back to levels in place when he took office in 2011.

  Spending will rise roughly $40 million to $1.4 billion, a 2.9 percent increase, under a spending plan up for final legislative votes this week. The Republican governor and lawmakers had hoped for a $60 million, or 4.4 percent, boost.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new Michigan State University study suggests, if you spent time this past weekend with a beer in your hand, it may be because of something you saw on social media.

MSU researchers say when participants in a study of social media’s influence were exposed to ads touting beer, as opposed to those selling bottled water, they were more inclined to consider drinking alcohol.

They studied the behavior of 121 test subjects. They were divided into two groups. Group one was exposed to beer ads on Facebook. Group two saw ads for bottled water.

Spartan football helped dad escape Jim Crow

May 18, 2016
Maya and Gene Washington
Maya Washington

When you see a college football team run out onto the field, it's hard to remember that not so long ago, few, if any, of those young players would be black. 

A powerful documentary from filmmaker Maya Washington tells the story of when and how that changed. 

Through the Banks of the Red Cedar shows us the way Michigan State University coach Duffy Daugherty confronted racism on the football field by bringing young black players from the South to East Lansing. 

A fire
flickr user Matt MacGillivray / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's back to the drawing board for the city of East Lansing. 

District court judge Andrea Larkin has ruled that a 1999 ordinance aimed at cracking down on fires after big games at Michigan State University is unconstitutional.

The ordinance made it illegal to be or stay within 300 feet of a fire unless you are helping to put it out before emergency help arrives. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan State University pollster says new survey numbers suggest Governor Snyder has suffered “some permanent” damage from the Flint water crisis.

MSU’s State of the State Survey polled nearly 1,000 people between December and March, during the height of the crisis.

Survey director Charles Ballard says the percentage of people rating Snyder’s job performance as “poor” more than doubled, from 21% to 44%. 

flickr user DryHundredFear / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

How do we break down stereotypes about each other?

That question has driven a Michigan State University journalism class to create a series of guides to help disassemble the myths and stereotypes about different groups in our country.

Bias Busters: Guides to Cultural Competence have been created by students. They're a series of questions and answers about African-Americans, East Asian cultures, Native Americans and more.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are efforts underway to help Flint children exposed to lead in their drinking water.

There’s also an effort to see if those interventions are working.

Children exposed to high levels of lead benefit from better nutrition and early education. A new collaboration between Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital will try to find the best ways to do that.

Aron Sousa is the interim director of the MSU College of Human Medicine. He says intervention is good, but “the key thing is figuring out if your intervention is working.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan cities are getting a little help dealing with financial problems.

Michigan State University’s new Local Government Finance and Policy Center is intended to be a resource for cities. The center will offer workshops on fiscal sustainability and research municipal governance.  The center will also produce an annual fiscal health report on each of Michigan’s cities, counties and townships.

Director Eric Scorsone says mounting legacy costs are the biggest challenge facing most communities in Michigan.

Michigan State University must release the names of 300 student-athletes listed in police reports as suspects in criminal investigations. That’s under a Michigan Supreme Court order issued today.

ESPN requested the records under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act for a series on whether college-athletes suspected of crimes get special treatment.

MSU provided campus police reports, but redacted the names of student-athletes named as suspects.

MSU said, unless they’re actually charged, that’s an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Leaders in Lansing are hoping a new cutting-edge scientific research facility at Michigan State University might lead to an economic boom.

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, will provide researchers a place to do cutting edge experiments in nuclear science. The building is already under construction on the MSU campus in East Lansing. 

Construction is not expected to be complete until 2022. 

The project is expected to cost $730 million.  

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