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Former Michigan State University president Lou Anna K. Simon was charged with four counts of lying to a peace officer on Tuesday, the latest development in the fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal.
According to multiple reports, Simon was charged in district court with two felonies and two misdemeanors. She is accused of lying to the police about her knowledge of the sexual abuse committed by Nassar, a doctor and former university physician who earlier this year was handed what amounts to a life sentence for sexually abusing athletes while they were his patients.Simon's arraignment is set for Monday, and she faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
Citing court filings, the Lansing State Journal reported that Simon falsely claimed "that she was not aware of the nature of the complaint that" led to a Title IX investigation in 2014.
The court filings continue, "When asked about whether she was aware of any investigation involving Larry Nassar prior to 2016 she falsely or misleadingly said that 'I was aware that in 2014 there was a sports medicine doc who was subject to a review' when in fact she knew it was Larry Nassar who was the subject of the 2014 MSU Title IX investigation."
The State Journal received a statement via email from Simon's attorney Mayer Morganroth that read, "The only crime committed is the indictment. It is political and completely false and they will pay for it."
Another Simon attorney, Lee Silver, told media outlets that the charges are "completely baseless," and added, "We are confident that when we have our day in court, Dr. Simon will be exonerated and these charges will be proven to have no merit."
Simon stepped down from her post as president on Jan. 24, just hours after Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. She reportedly maintained a 12-month research leave at her same salary.
Interim Michigan State president John Engler released a statement saying the university is "aware of the charges brought today against former President Simon" and that Simon is taking "an immediate leave of absence, without pay, to focus on her legal situation."
A university spokeswoman told the State Journal the university will pay Simon's legal fees.
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