Wednesday March 20th, 2019 5:34AM

Nassar victim: Michigan State leader offered secret payoff

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A sexual assault victim of former sports doctor Larry Nassar confronted Michigan State University officials on Friday, alleging the school's interim leader pressured her to accept a payoff to settle her lawsuit without her attorney present.

Kaylee Lorincz spoke during a contentious board of trustees meeting, where interim President John Engler expressed regret over the university's response to another woman's federal lawsuit over the school's handling of rape allegations involving basketball players. Lorincz, who has said Nassar sexually assaulted her when she sought treatment for back pain, said Engler and Carol Viventi, who was hired in February as special counsel to the president, offered her $250,000 when the 18-year-old and her mother were at the school a few weeks ago to sign up to speak at Friday's meeting.

According to Lorincz, Engler said to her, "Right now if I wrote you a check for $250,000 would you take it?"

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. Lorincz said she later asked Denhollander, who told her she had never met with Engler. Denhollender issued a written statement confirming that encounter with Lorincz.

"I felt like I was being bullied into saying something and that if Rachael gave him a settlement amount, it was OK for me to do it, too," Lorincz said in a prepared statement that she read aloud.

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

"My interpretation of the discussion was not that he was saying, 'I'm offering you $250,000,'" Guerrant said. "It was a discussion about the civil litigation and how it was going on."

Engler did not directly respond to Lorincz during her speech except to say Lorincz's characterization of Viventi as his attorney was incorrect. He later issued a statement saying the meeting took place but he did not elaborate on Lorincz's account of it.

"Our memories and interpretations of the March 28 meeting are different than hers," Engler said. "I am sorry if anything said during the meeting was misunderstood."

Lorincz addressed Engler in a room brimming with protesters, parents and sexual assault victims of Nassar, now serving decades in prison for molesting women and girls and for possessing child pornography. She was among roughly 250 women who gave statements earlier this year during Nassar's sentencing hearings in two Michigan courtrooms.

In a separate case, a woman sued the school on Monday, saying university counselors discouraged her from filing a police report after three Michigan State basketball players allegedly raped her in 2015. She accuses the school of violating Title IX protocol and claims staff made it clear that "she faced an uphill battle that would create anxiety and unwanted media attention" should she report her rape.

The university's immediate response to reporters asking about the lawsuit was to decline comment. But on Wednesday it issued a lengthy statement that detailed staff interaction with the woman.

The response was met with backlash from people who say Michigan State violated federal privacy laws.

In Friday's board meeting, Engler acknowledged that the school "provided an unnecessary amount of detail," saying some people saw the response as "violating privacy expectations."

Engler, a Republican former governor of Michigan, became interim president after Lou Anna Simon resigned in January hours after Nassar was sentenced to decades in prison for crimes involving Michigan State athletes. Students remain anxious over the future course of the university, which concludes the school year this month but has yet to choose a permanent replacement for Simon.

The atmosphere inside the board meeting quickly drew tension as Engler attempted to steer focus toward celebrating milestones of the university but was usurped by boos and jeers from a crowd clad in teal shirts with the phrase, "I stand with the sister survivors #MeTooMSU." Some Nassar victims wrapped their mouths with black bands that had the phrase "Silenced" scrawled over them.

During the meeting, Engler proposed a 2.97 percent tuition increase, the third lowest in 20 years. He previously had teased the possibility of heavy tuition increases should the school's lawsuits over the Nassar scandal continue to snowball financially.

Victims and students dominated the second half of the meeting and castigated the board for how it handled the public fallout over the past few months.

"You sponsored my assault," dancer Morgan McCaul, a Nassar victim, said. "Your time is up. Resign."

As McCaul's testimony concluded, the crowd joined her in chanting, "Shame on you," at the board.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Nassar victim: Michigan State leader offered secret payoff
Interim Michigan State University President John Engler says he regrets the school's response to a woman filing a federal rape lawsuit against the university
1:31PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Russia says alleged chemical attack in Syria staged by UK
The Russian Defense Ministry is accusing Britain of staging a fake chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma last weekend
1:25PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Lawmakers meet in secret as teachers chant: 'Show your face'
Thousands of Kentucky teachers are demanding a state budget that helps schools as lawmakers are huddling in private
1:01PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Former Memphis walk-on says he's best receiver in NFL draft
Anthony Miller is trying really hard to follow the advice given to him at the NFL combine to just slow down. The man who walked on at Memphis is eager to prove he's the best wide receiver available in the 2018 NFL draft.
12:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ken Hitchcock, 3rd in NHL wins, retiring after 22 years
Dallas Stars coach Ken Hitchcock is retiring, ending a 22-year career as the third-winningest coach in NHL history
12:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Madrid-Bayern, Liverpool-Roma in Champions League semifinals
A Champions League semifinal draw steeped in the competition's rich history paired Real Madrid with Bayern Munich and then matched Liverpool with Roma
10:15AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
A'ja Wilson top pick of WNBA draft by Las Vegas Aces
A'ja Wilson was the top pick in the WNBA draft on Thursday night by the Las Vegas Aces
11:44PM ( 13 hours ago )
Warriors, Cavs vulnerable, or headed for NBA Finals Round 4?
Maybe this is the year for a new NBA Finals matchup
6:05PM ( 19 hours ago )
Magic fire coach Frank Vogel after 6th straight losing year
Magic fire coach Frank Vogel after 2 seasons and team's 6th straight losing year
4:29PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Griffin III hopes to start anew as a backup QB with Ravens
Griffin III ready to forget the past and 'go forward as a new player' with Baltimore Ravens
1:32PM ( 2 days ago )
Villanova guard Jalen Brunson declares for NBA draft
Villanova guard Jalen Brunson, the AP player of the year declares for NBA draft; teammate Mikal Bridges makes same decision
10:23AM ( 2 days ago )
Trump hails championship Alabama football team
President Donald Trump is praising the University of Alabama football team for their latest championship season
7:20PM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
Russia says alleged chemical attack in Syria staged by UK
The Russian Defense Ministry is accusing Britain of staging a fake chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma last weekend
1:25PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Lawmakers meet in secret as teachers chant: 'Show your face'
Thousands of Kentucky teachers are demanding a state budget that helps schools as lawmakers are huddling in private
1:01PM ( 38 minutes ago )
The Latest: UK's UN ambassador denies Russian accusation
Britain's U.N. ambassador vehemently denies a Russian military claim that the United Kingdom staged an alleged chemical attack in Syria last weekend
12:51PM ( 49 minutes ago )
911: Man kills daughter who was also his wife after breakup
The mother of a suspect in an apparent murder-suicide spanning three states said in a 911 call that he had confessed to killing three people including his 7-month-old son
12:46PM ( 54 minutes ago )
How Facebook ads target you
Facebook's business depends almost entirely on selling ads targeted at people with particular interests and demographics
12:44PM ( 56 minutes ago )