EAST LANSING, Mich. — Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber criticized Michigan State University’s interim president during a speech at the school, saying he needs to work with the girls and women abused by imprisoned former sports doctor Larry Nassar.
The Olympic gold medalist said John Engler has lobbied against legislation that would extend Michigan’s statute of limitations for sexual assault victims to file lawsuits and remove governmental immunity as a defense, The Lansing State Journal reported . Wieber is among more than 250 girls and women who say Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment, including while he worked for the university.
“I hope President Engler will hear this message and take it to heart,” Wieber said during her Thursday speech. “Survivors are not your enemy. We want MSU to move forward, rebuild its reputation and thrive.”
Engler didn’t lobby against the bills, but rather sought to slow down the legislative process to allow for more analysis and public comment, said university spokeswoman Emily Guerrant. She said Engler is already making changes on campus and is determined to work with survivors.
Revised legislation was recently approved by the Michigan Senate. House committee meetings on the bills will likely begin after the Legislature returns from its spring break on April 10, according to House Speaker Tom Leonard, a Republican from DeWitt Township.
Nassar, 54, was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison for criminal sexual assault and 60 years for child pornography.
Victims said the abuse also occurred while Nassar worked for USA Gymnastics, the Indiana-based organization responsible for training Olympians. Many are now suing the university and USA Gymnastics over their handling of sexual assault allegations against Nassar.