BLOOMSBURG -- Larry Nassar, former Michigan State doctor and doctor for the U.S. Gymnastics Team, could spend as many as 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to molestation charges last week. More than 150 women filed civil lawsuits against Nassar and included Michigan State University as a co-defendant. These women claim the university ignored complaints about Nassar for nearly two decades.
"We are obligated and we do investigate every report of misconduct to the fullest extent we are able to," Dr. Dione Somerville said.
Dr. Somerville is the vice president for student affairs at Bloomsburg University. She did not discuss the Michigan State case. She told Newswatch 16 about Bloomsburg's policy for sexual misconduct, which is reviewed every year. Bloomsburg University focuses on educating students and the campus community.
"One of the programs we started several years ago was to have university advocates to reach out to survivors of sexual misconduct," Dr. Somerville said.
We got similar responses from Bucknell and Susquehanna Universities, both of which regularly evaluate this policy. A representative from Susquehanna tells us, "We currently have... what we believe is a strong and comprehensive... policy, and there is nothing about the Michigan State University case that would lead us to respond differently than we currently do."
When it comes to reporting sexual assaults, the director at The Women's Center in Bloomsburg says it's important to create a supportive environment. The director tells Newswatch 16, "The biggest support for any sexual assault victim is how encouraging the local environment is."
When it comes to reporting sexual assaults, Bloomsburg Police Chief Roger Van Loan says timing is key.
"The sooner somebody reports a crime, the easier it is for law enforcement to have a successful outcome," Van Loan said.
Representatives from all of these universities tell Newswatch 16 they are confident in their school's sexual misconduct policies. Student-athletes are not treated differently than the rest of the student body.