Legal experts say Title IX investigation could play big role in Nassar cases

Published: Mar. 22, 2017 at 11:02 PM EDT
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The Title IX report against former Doctor Larry Nassar is 28 pages of graphic testimony.

It goes into detail about how Nassar sexually assaulted former gymnast Rachel Denhollander, as well as Nassar's side of the story.

The investigation doesn't prove he committed any crimes. It just says he broke MSU's sexual harassment policy. Even so, legal experts say this document could be used in cases against Nassar...

"If the case goes to trial, I think it's going to play an enormous factor," Professor of Law Anthony Flores said.

"It's pretty significant," Attorney Karen Truszkowski said.

Flores says it might not be easy to present the Title IX report as evidence in a criminal case. There are rules that have to be followed. An attorney can't just show the report and say 'because the title IX investigation says he sexually assaulted somebody, he's guilty of sexually assaulting all of these women.'

"We're supposed to convict him of what he did on a certain day at a certain time, and not because of who he is or what he's done in the past," Flores said.

But Flores says there are still ways to present the evidence, and one way they might bring it up is to establish Nassar's pattern of how he treated gymnasts.

"We would be offering that evidence for a very limited purpose to argue that he has a scheme or plan to do it," Flores said.

That, according to Flores, could affect how a jury looks at the case. As for the civil suit, attorneys could also use the report to establish a pattern of behavior. Karen Truszkowski says it would be a good support tool for the civil attorneys.

"It could also be used to show that he committed this on other kids, other children," Truszkowski said.

Truskowski says each individual would still have to prove their own case... She also says if more title IX investigations against Nassar turn out like this one, it'll make it even easier to establish Nassar's patterns.

The university is working on five other title nine investigations involving Nassar.

We'll let you know when they're finished.