April 9th, 2018 at 8:55 AM ^

If the case went all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court, I doubt it was an open-and-shut case of clear harassment that the article is making it out to be. And if people believe that he's an abuse enabler, there should've been protests to him being a judge, not just once he's in charge of Title IX at MSU...

That being said, it does seem like MSU and Engler and trying to "keep it in the family" with most of the people being chosen for these positions. They need to hire outside people that have no affiliation with MSU if they really want to make a change.

Section 1.8

April 9th, 2018 at 11:05 AM ^

Justice Young’s opinion in the case didn’t excuse the perpetrator in any way. In a separate criminal case, the guy was convicted.

The notion that anyone would accuse Young and the court majority of somehow promoting “rape culture” is an outrageous and idiotic defamation.

The decision went to the question as to whether the employer could have or should have foreseen the criminal act, and/or whether it should be otherwise be responsible for a crime that absolutely no one excused.


April 9th, 2018 at 11:26 AM ^

Yes and no. His ruling in this case did "protect" the instituion/company. but it doesn't mean he would've made the same decision if the evidence was different. Going from sexual harassment to rape is a pretty big jump, so I can see how it would reasonable to rule it not to be the company's fault depending on the evidence of how the company handled the previous harassment.

The Nasser situation is completely different. There is clear evidence that MSU knew what was going on, and yet continued to employ him and let him assault more victims.


April 9th, 2018 at 1:57 PM ^

That's what Young's supreme court opinion did -- it didn't let a jury decide whether this company was responsible or not.

I think of it this way -- if a family member (daughter, wife, sister, etc) was at a work, and a male co-worker continually made unwanted sexually explicit comments toward her (including that he want to fuck her and pull her hair), she asked her employer to have those comments stop, but they are not. Later, he rapes her at work. Would you hold the company partly responsible? 

I think it's reasonable for a trial to be held to determine if the company did a reasonable job of preventing that rape from occuring -- how many times did they tell the man to stop making comments? What did they tell him the consequences would be if he didn't leave her alone? How did they enforce this? Was there an investigation to see if other co-workers reported similar comments? Etc.

Now, in the end, maybe the company is found not liable (e.g., the female co-worker said she wasn't worried for her physical safety when he made those comments). But I think it should have been examined more closely.

And to the point for MSU, Bob Young (who seems to be of the opinion that only those who have previoulsy been found to have commited sexual violence -- which would have included Larry Nassar, for what is worth, until very recently -- are who employers should worry about), doesn't seem like the best person to hire, if you're looking for someone who is going to give the benefit of the doubt to the victims.

Section 1.8

April 9th, 2018 at 2:11 PM ^

MSU is hiring its own counsel.

As for the matter of sending it to a jury...

Trial and appellate judges are in the business of deciding questions of law and duties owed.  Juries decide facts.  This was a duty question; and a vicarious liability question as a matter of law.  And actually, as you rightly point out (!) the decision of Justice Young in the Brown case could be used to impose vicarious liability on MSU if the university had actual knowledge of some sort of propensity on the part of Nassar to commit acts of sexual assault and/or misconduct.

In about half of these Staee!/SpartyNo!/EnglerRepublicanRapeCulture threads, I have repeatedly stated that the basic reason that MSU is acting like a "defendant" is because they have been made a "defendant" and are being treated as such, by skilled plaintiff lawyers.  MSU has a pile of insurance money, and they are obligated by the insurance contracts to cooperate with the insurance counsel's defense of the case.




April 9th, 2018 at 3:06 PM ^

My law knowledge isn't great... But how often do civil cases have a jury? And does it ever happen at the Supreme Court level? I'm pretty sure most appeals are thrown out by judges, otherwise our judicial system would be too clogged up.

Also, I said "depending on the evidence"... We don't know who she reported the harassment to, when it was done, how many times, and what (if anything) was done by the company. If the company was negligent, then I agree that should be held responsible. We don't know that they were...


April 9th, 2018 at 4:26 PM ^

It is his interpretation of that situation and the position that the company was not liable that IS pertinent here. 

Very hard to draw a specific conclusion without knowing all the facts (in both the Brown and MSU cases), but one could take the position that:

A. the man was found guilty of muliple instances of sexual assault at the workplace (I'm making two assumptions here; 1. due to existance of multiple reports of harassment that enough time had passed that at least one investigation had concluded 2. there was the conclusion that a sexual assault had occurred, or there wouldn't have been much of a case to hold the company accountable.

B. he was retained as an employee AFTER repeated sexual harassment

C. same man subsequently rapes the woman he harassed AT the place of employment

I think the whole point is that the company kept an employee who was repeatedly reported as an abuser and created a situation where a rape occurred.....it has (or should have) nothing to do with the company's track record in dealing with sexual assault OR their ability to discern whether the reported harassment was likely to result in a rape. Creating the expectation that there is any discretion on the part of the company is a terrible precedent to set. More clear to have a decision that indicates "you better fire known sexual predators, or you're responsible what they do at your workplace."

Not to mention, he has a track history of supporting these opinions, if it was just one time....maaaaybe. 

I don't find it the least bit irresponsible to characterize Young as overly-sympathetic to an organization and their liability, nor do I buy the argument that because courts absolve sexual harassment cases at high rates that he gets any kind of pass for the opinions he supports in those cases. 

Think about it.....isn't "courts absolve sexual harassment cases at high rates" part of the problem that we are trying to address here any way?

Sure...MSU is not trying to hire a neutral party and I guess should get someone that shares their slant on company/government responsbility, but as being someone that worked on the supreme court in the state where the case is being decided, it is undeniable that influence and access to the legal and investigative entities at work here is part of what they expect in retaining his services and in that respect, the bias is dangerous.

Putting aside any potential for bias of influence from Young, it is STILL unbelievably obtuse on the part of MSU to retain his services.....the optics alone are incredibly bad. This is he ONLY candidate you could find for this role? There isn't someone out there that either doesn't have a clearly slanted history of opinions, no opinions, or better yet, a history of being supportive of and sympathetic to the victims of sexual harassment, rape, abuse, etc.? 

Is MSU's primary role in all this to fight as vigorously as possible and mitigate damage to the university and those that allowed the abuse, without any regard for the victims? Or is it to assess and assume a level of responsbility and change the culture that allows the abuse? So far it seems much more like the former than the latter, and that is reprehensible.

Section 1.8

April 9th, 2018 at 11:32 AM ^

"One could infer Youngwould have the same leanings on behalf of MSU..."


Bob Young is now retired from the Supreme Court, and as a partner at Dickinson Wright he is now coordinating the defense of MSU.  Which is being sued, for many, many millions.  Wouldn't MSU want a skilled advocate in litigation who can see things its way?

Bob Young was a great judge in my view, but whether you think so now doesn't matter.  He's now in the role of "private counsel for MSU."  And not "Justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan."



April 9th, 2018 at 11:46 AM ^

I have no problems with MSU trying to defend themselves to the best of their abilities in civil court. They should be setting up counseling, programs for victims, etc., but I don't expect them to just say "Yup, we screwed up. Here's $100 million a piece."

My problem with the all of this situation is the corruption that seems to be going on. It's with what athletes are able to plea down to with Ingham County, and then those DA's go work for MSU. It's the state investigating them, while they are hiring people like Engler that used to be the govenor of said state and likely still has connections to the people investigating them. 

Section 1.8

April 9th, 2018 at 12:29 PM ^

The latest plea deal, involving Corley and his buddies, was in front of Circuit Judge Rosemarie Acquilina, thought by many to be a Democrat-nominated MSC candidate on the strength of her treatment of Nassar and the victims in his Ingham County sentencing proceeding.



April 9th, 2018 at 1:09 PM ^

That plea deal is sad for a different reason... The fact that they had to resort to that becuase the victim was intiminated to testiffy because of the board of trustees. That's beyond fucked up in so many ways.

I was more referring to the Appling/Payne and other cases.

yossarians tree

April 9th, 2018 at 12:40 PM ^

I agree with this. Cynically I understand that at the meta institutional level there is going to be a wink-wink nod-nod to ensure the ongoing status quo long term. This is high level state politics and the rest of us are just spectators. What's disturbing is that there are individuals (Klages, Hollis, Izzo, D'anton) who have used and benefitted from the "too big to fail" protection to allow the continuance of abhorrent behavior on multiple accounts. In the case of Dantonio especially, a man with all the character of a serpent in a cold swamp, one can assemble a roster of San Quentin alumni as long as he can "beat Michigan."

Personally I've always tried to stay above the fray in my disagreements with Sparties (on the athletics trash talk level), many of whom I consider dear friends. I think it enrages them when I do not engage, and so I don't. However of late I am giving no quarter. I do not seek out the usual give-and-take, but when it comes to my feet I am giving back both barrels. Your athletic department is sick and stained. Shut. The fuck. Up.


April 9th, 2018 at 12:39 PM ^

I agree, but let's not forget that most people don't recognize there are issues with someone until it becomes public; the fact we as a society have limited interest in the judicial branch on a daily basis shouldn't lead one to believe that complaints later on are purely politically motivated.

I do agree that MSU is keeping it in-house to the Nth degree, but that seems like it's their own option.  Any outside party would scream bloody murder about their stupidity, and it's a school teetering on internal revolt by all accounts.  Keeping some stability at the top is their own chance, I assume.

True Blue Grit

April 9th, 2018 at 2:01 PM ^

to cause real change is all the BOT's need to be replaced immediately.  They're the ones who are directly or indirectly responsible for the shit show you're seeing at MSU.  And since they're elected officials, the process for getting them out of there is not easy and takes a lot of time.  


April 9th, 2018 at 9:07 AM ^

He's clearly hired to protect MSU and not to enforce Title IX compliance, however I'm not sure what else we'd expect.  I think when a cultural problem of this significance is uncovered protectionism is the standard and expected result.  Any change will need to occur through force and the legal process.


That being said, I think Denhollander's take on all of this has been spot on in every interview or article. 


“At every turn, MSU and Engler have appointed political insiders who have a consistent record of being part of the culture of abuse,” said Denhollander, an attorney. “This is not change. This is not transparency. This is institutional protectionism, and it should deeply concern every citizen..."

M Ascending

April 9th, 2018 at 11:09 AM ^

As an attorney and a functionary at relatively high levels at the State Bar of Michigan, I have met Justice Young several times, listened to him speak on many occasions, and read many of the opinions he authored.  And in all honesty, I can say that Justice Young was always, quite simply, a total pig, in the socio/political sense of the word.  He tries to come across as an above-the-fray, bowtie-wearing, academic who would approach matters objectively.  That, however, is a total front. 

Robert Young was always a political tool of the insurance companies and the most conservative wing of the Republican Party.  His disdain for the rights of injured individuals (whether physically, psychologically, or emotionally) has been well-documented.  Thus, it is totally unsurprising that Engler and his cronies would turn to someone like Young to protect their interests, while at the same time chirping about what an appropriate choice he is to vindicate the rights of the victims.  Utter horseshit.  And, yes, this was politics on this Blog, because it is total politics on the part of MSU.


April 9th, 2018 at 10:53 AM ^

I have said this before on here, but this is an example of a rhetorical device called "apophasis." 

It's when you preface a sentence by disavowing the thing you are about to say.

"I'm not one to gossip, but don't you think Brian and Jenna have gotten a little too chummy lately?"


April 9th, 2018 at 10:41 AM ^

don't know if the call was from a victim or just somebody who knew about abuse allegations going that far back, but yes, it has been alleged that Paterno knew about Sandusky allegations in the late 70s.  I tend to believe that, if he heard anything, it is more likely that Paterno was close with Sandusky and just truly did not believe what he heard at the time, but that backdrop is certainly damning in that the existence of the earlier allegations should have made Paterno weary of seeing Sandusky with children so often and made his actions that much more urgent in immediately confronting any later allegations.


April 9th, 2018 at 10:50 AM ^

was that Paterno was a bumbling fool and the fact he died soon after the scandal was brought to light saved both him and PSU from an incredible amount of embarassment.


April 9th, 2018 at 11:19 AM ^

think he progressively came to know and understand what was happening, but that by the time he realized what was going on it had been going on too long for him to bring it to light without it appearing to be an outright coverup.  So, essentially, he heard things that he legitimately did not believe, discounted them, but came to believe them in time after further allegations surfaced and he observed more of Sandusky's general behavior over the years. 

However, because he had heard them initially and had failed to act, any disclosure would have been both of the allegations themselves and of his initial failure to take any action based on them.  In this regard, I think he was more "covering up the cover up" to save his own ass even if the initial coverup was not necessarily systemic or institutional (or even intentional) at the outset. 


April 9th, 2018 at 11:22 AM ^

for weeks after Sandusky was charged. He clearly wanted to distance himself as much as he could and just coach football. That window closed on him very, very quickly.

Who knows how much editorial license was used in the movie but it only serves to further diminish Paterno's legacy. I DVR'd it and will watch it again with my eyes wide open.


April 9th, 2018 at 11:31 AM ^

I think the allegations from the 70's came up in court hearings with the PSU insurance carriers.  Remember that they didn't want to keep paying indefinitely, and sued to get out of it.  As part of the suits, they brought up all claims people were making.  There is no evidence, to my knowledge, that all of those claims could be substantiated.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised one tiny bit if they were true.  Pedophiles don't start being pedophiles when they get caught...


April 9th, 2018 at 9:19 AM ^

Still unsurprised...

MSU is led by a BoT that has its collective head buried in sand: 'the only problem was Nasser - he's gone, why are we still being challenged?  Lets hire Engler and his cronies to limit damages, that's all we need to do.'

They really believe that Nasser was the one-off problem, and don't understand what everyone else sees.  Nothing about this will change until the BoT is removed - forcibly by Govenor order.  Because written law allows them to stay through the next decade - which is, itself, another failure of law.

I wish someone in the state House or Senate would sponsor - and roughride - legislation making it immediately lawful for the Govenor to remove those inbred assholes.  Sadly, not one politician alive has enough balls to do something so bold, so different from the norm - the right thing regardless of political leans.


April 9th, 2018 at 9:19 AM ^

Asked how Young can change MSU’s culture, Guerrant said Young is not an MSU employee. Rather, he is assisting the MSU Legal Team with the litigation resulting from Nassar’s misconduct.


April 9th, 2018 at 9:19 AM ^

And IMO it will only get worse as time goes on.

If there's anything the NCAA & our legal system have proved over the past several years it's that honesty is most definitely NOT the best policy, at least if you wish to avoid punishment for past misbehavior.   Deny, deny and keep denying, right up to the guilty verdict cause the only people &instituions seemingly facing any reprecussions are those folks/schools stupid enough to admidt they did anything wrong.

Anyone with eyes has seen this occur over and over and over again recently so MSU's circle the wagons approach is logical and will probably work with both the judicial system as well as the NCAA.