Michigan State Interim President John Engler Resigns After Controversial Remarks About Sexual Assault Victims

One day after multiple reports surfaced about Michigan State University interim president John Engler saying that some of Larry Nassar's sexual assault victims still "enjoy the moment" in the spotlight, Engler submitted his resignation.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday evening Engler's resignation, effective Jan. 23, comes following public backlash from his recent remarks in addition to his past, in which he was the Michigan governor and fought to silence female prisoners who were allegedly sexually assaulted by the guards.

Engler submitted an 11-page resignation letter to MSU Board of Trustees chairwoman Dianne Byrum, according to the AP report. His letter made no mention of the remarks he made or the public outcry, but merely listed his accomplishments while serving as interim president.

Engler is the second MSU president to resign since the Nassar scandal broke in 2017. Nassar is serving 40-175 years in prison for his sexual assault crimes against mostly female athletes under his supervision while he was the former osteopathic physician for MSU and the USA Gymnastics national team doctor.

A total of 156 women and girls made statements at his highly-publicized trial.

The latest pressure cooker with Engler happened recently when he told the Detroit News editorial board that some of the Nassar victims were uncomfortable with the spotlight, while others seemed to "enjoy the moment."

"You've got people, they are hanging on and this has been … there are a lot of people who are touched by this, survivors who haven't been in the spotlight," Engler said. "In some ways they have been able to deal with this better than the ones who've been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition. And it's ending. It's almost done."

Engler's statement was made while the newspaper was writing another story involving MSU reviving the Healing Assistance Fund to help pay for counseling for victims not named in the initial $500 million lawsuit.

MSU hired Engler as interim president in February 2018 after former president Lou Anna Simon resigned due to the Nassar scandal. Shortly after Engler was appointed, the school settled for $500 million with 332 women who claimed they were sexually assaulted or molested by Nassar.

An MSU Board of Trustees special meeting is scheduled for Thursday in East Lansing, and one source said there were enough votes to force Engler from office, the AP report said. Byrum didn't necessarily say they were forcing Engler to step down, but they will likely name a new interim president on Thursday, the report said.

Michigan State University isn't the only institution rocked by the Nassar scandal. USA Gymnastics announced in early 2018 it would move its headquarters from the Greater Houston area, where Nassar worked with most of the gymnasts. Bela and Martha Karolyi, who oversaw USA Gymnastics several decades at Karolyi Ranch just north of Houston, filed a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee, which reportedly was going to purchase the ranch.

The USOC and USA Gymnastics vowed to distance themselves with anything related to Nassar, including moving its new headquarters to Indianapolis.