Larry Nassar abuse victim accuses Michigan State president of trying to secretly pay her off
Kaylee Lorincz says MSU interim President John Engler attempted secret payoff
EAST LANSING, Mich. – An 18-year-old sexual abuse victim of former Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar is accusing the university's interim president of trying to secretly pay her off, according to her lawyer.
Kaylee Lorincz told the Michigan State University board of trustees during Friday's meeting that President John Engler tried to secretly settle her civil suit against MSU for $250,000 without her attorney being present.
FULL COVERAGE: Larry Nassar abuse trial
Lorincz said Carol Viventi, the MSU special counsel to the president, was at the meeting with Engler, which took place about 5:30 p.m. on March 28.
Lorincz's mother, Lisa Lorincz, was also at the meeting, the family's attorney said.
While Lorincz gave her statement to the MSU board, she was interrupted several times by Engler, who told her her time was up. That angered the crowd, which began chanting, "Let her speak" while police officers tried to control the situation.
You can watch Lorincz's full statement to the board below. WARNING: There is some strong language during her statement.
The amount offered was less than 10 percent of the average amount that Penn State University paid to the sexual abuse victims of former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, according to Lorincz's attorney.
Here is a transcript of Lorincz’s full statement to the board:
"My name is Kaylee Lorincz and I am first and foremost a survivor. In December, I described to you bits and pieces of my assault by Larry Nassar. While on two separate occasions I heard apologies, I have yet to see any action by this board to back your statements. In fact, I am continually shocked by your lack of action and Interim President Engler’s callous and disrespectful words.
"When my mom and I stopped in to sign up to speak at this morning’s meeting a few weeks ago, we happened to see President Engler. I asked if we could speak to him, just so that I could introduce myself, as a Survivor of Larry Nassar. My hope was that maybe if he actually met a survivor he might become more empathetic to what we’re experiencing. He has said some hurtful things and I wanted him to know that when he does that he causes me to feel victimized all over again. He told us he would see us if we could wait a few minutes.
"While we waited, we were met by Emily Gerkin Guerrant, Vice President and University spokesperson. She talked to us for about a half an hour then brought us into the meeting. President Engler introduced us to Vice President Carol Viventi He did not tell us that Ms. Viventi was his lawyer.
"We sat in a conference room where I briefly told President Engler my story. I told him how much I love MSU and wanted to help them heal, to make real change. He explained all of the new things they’ve implemented, which sounded promising, but said working together couldn’t occur until the civil suits are settled.
"Mr. Engler then looked directly at me and asked, “right now if I wrote you a check for $250,000 would you take it?” When I explained that it’s not about the money for me and that I just want to help, he said “well give me a number.” He also said that he had met with Rachael Denhollander and that she gave him a number.
"I felt like I was being bullied into saying something and that if Rachael gave him a settlement amount, it was okay for me to do it too. I said again, it’s not about money. Carol Viventi said 'Well you’re in civil litigation, aren’t you? That’s what a civil case is about, money.'
"Since then, I have spoken to Rachael and asked her about that meeting, but it turns out that Rachael has never met with Mr. Engler and more specifically, never gave him a dollar amount.
"He then proceeded to attack my attorneys who had no idea that this meeting was taking place.
"At this point I was feeling pretty bad. President Engler and his lawyer had just tried to coerce me into settling a lawsuit without my attorney present.
"Then, President Engler started saying how sad it was that hundreds of good osteopathic doctors at MSU are being judged by one...one...bad doctor.
"My mom interrupted and said well what about former Dean Strampel? Wasn’t he just arrested? President Engler rolled his eyes and attempted to fluff it off and said 'oh that was no big deal, it was only just a slap on the butt.'
"My Mom and I were both so shocked. My jaw dropped, and I said “just a slap on the butt? Larry did that to me too and look how that turned out.” He implied that this was much different than Larry. President Engler then tried to back up his statement saying, “well there are different degrees of murder.” I then told him, murder is still murder no matter how you do it.
"After that meeting it was clear to me that nothing would change and that President Engler viewed meeting me as an opportunity to gain information, continuing to deflect and defend.
"President Engler YOU wanted to talk about money, I wanted to talk about helping and healing. You tried to make us feel like WE were the problem and MSU was the victim because of the civil suits. THIS is how it works. When you protect and promote a sexual predator, and foster a culture of lies and cover ups, YOU are responsible."
Engler released a statement Friday evening in response to Lorincz's claims.
You can read his full statement below:
"I met with Kaylee and Lisa Lorincz’s on March 28. Also in the meeting were Carol Viventi and Emily Guerrant. We felt it was important to hear her experience as a survivor first-hand, as well as her ideas on how to improve our processes and culture. Given the current litigation, opportunities to speak with survivors are rare.
"Our memories and interpretations of the March 28 meeting are different than hers. I am sorry if anything said during the meeting was misunderstood. Regardless, since mediation of all claims begins on April 25, there will be an appropriate place for discussions concerning what would be a fair and equitable resolution.
"We, too, hope for a joint resolution to these heinous crimes. We’ll be working for an equitable settlement to allow all the survivors to move forward in their process of healing."
Lorincz, of Macomb Township, said she was 2 years old when she started gymnastics, and played for 10 years. She said gymnastics was her life.
"I spent so much time there," Lorincz said. "I would spend 15-20 hours a week at the gym. Sometimes in a day I would see my coaches and my teammates more than I would see my parents and my family."
Lorincz said it's hard to separate what happened to her from the sport when she's coaching today. She started seeing Nassar a few years after experiencing back pain at 10 years old.
"I saw four or five doctors before I saw (Nassar), and no one could really pinpoint exactly what was going on," Lorincz said. "I talked to my coaches, and they said, 'Why don't you go see Larry Nassar? He's the best of the best. Just give it a shot.'"
She had five appointments with Nassar, spending at least 90 minutes with him at each.
"He was nice," Lorincz said. "He was funny, but you could tell he was a weird guy. He would talk to you and you would be, like, 'Wow, this guy's weird.' But you can't pinpoint exactly what's up with him."
Lorincz was 13 years old at her third appointment when Nassar first abused her. She said while it was happening, she knew something was off.
"I remember thinking, 'What's he doing? This has never happened to me. What do I do? What do I think?'" Lorincz said. "I just had no idea what to do, and I laid there and I didn't say anything, hoping it would stop."
"He's known in the gymnastics world as, like, a gymnastics god," Lorincz said. "Everybody knew who he was. He was the best of the best, and I thought I was so lucky to be treated by him, and then you turn around and he betrays you."
She said he abused her two or three times during that appointment.
"Usually, the two appointments beforehand, when I would leave his office, it was always, like, 'Oh my gosh, Larry told me this, Larry told me that. That's so cool,'" Jones said. "But I just didn't say anything, because I was just so grossed out."
It didn't cross her mind that she had been sexually abused, because Nassar was regarded as such a great doctor. She went back two times after that appointment, but he didn't abuse her again.
"The table was positioned in such a perfect way that my parents, sitting in the room, had no idea," Lorincz said.
"I just felt so uncomfortable that, if it was wrong, I didn't want that -- it's hard to explain -- It's just such an uncomfortable feeling that, especially with your father in the room, what was I supposed to think? ... I had no reason to question him."
Lorincz realized she had been sexually abused in 2016 when a different victim came forward in an article.
"One of them said, 'Larry Nassar accused of sexual assault,'" she said. "I was, like, 'What? I see this doctor.' I'm reading through the article, and it shows bits and pieces of what he did to her ... and I'm, like, 'Oh my gosh, he did this to me.' I couldn't even read the rest of the article."
The next day, Lorincz told her mother what had happened to her at the third appointment with Nassar. It still affects her to this day.
"It's very hard," Lorincz said. "It helps that I don't have to hide it and question it anymore, but I have a very hard time trusting people. I can't even go to the doctor anymore by myself. ... Friendships aren't easy to me because I don't trust."
Lorincz said it helps that Nassar will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
"The feeling of knowing that he can't do this to any other young girl anymore definitely helps and for me to be a part of that in stopping him is definitely closure to me," Lorincz said. "For him admitting guilt for what he did to me helps. His apologies in court do not help."
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