Former Michigan State University president and current faculty member Lou Anna Simon, who is facing criminal charges in the Larry Nassar sex abuse case, plans to retire at the end of August with a $2.45 million payout.
The university announced on Tuesday that Simon will retire on Aug. 31, 2019, after working at the school for 45 years. She will receive three annual payments that amount to $2.45 million and will reportedly keep all the benefits of a tenured faculty member. Under the terms of her retirement, Simon will also hold the esteemed titles of president emeritus and professor emeritus.
“Michigan State is on the precipice of a new chapter under the leadership of President [Samuel] Stanley,” Simon wrote in a Tuesday press release. “I appreciate the efforts of the university to facilitate my transition to emeritus status that corresponds to this new chapter.”
Amanda Thomsahow, who was abused by Nassar on MSU’s campus in 2014, told HuffPost she’s “horrified” by Simon’s million-dollar payout.
“I think their [MSU’s] messaging has stayed consistent. They value reputation over student safety,” Thomashow said.
Simon stepped down as MSU president in January 2018 ― the same day Nassar, the former sports medicine doctor for the university and USA Gymnastics, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on child sex abuse charges. Simon received widespread criticism over how she handled the Nassar allegations, with many accusing the former president of enabling Nassar’s abuse.
Last year, Simon was charged with lying to police about the sexual abuse investigation into Nassar. She was charged with two felony and two misdemeanor counts in Eaton County, Michigan. If convicted, Simon could spend up to four years in prison.
“Our campus community is continuing its healing, and the Board of Trustees feels the retirement of Dr. Simon is best for the university,” Dianne Byrum, MSU chairperson of the Board of Trustees, said in a press release.
Simon is among several people involved in the Nassar scandal to face criminal charges. Former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny, former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages and former MSU dean of osteopathic medicine and Nassar’s former boss William Strampel all face criminal charges that relate to covering up Nassar’s abuse.
Nassar is accused of sexually abusing hundreds of young athletes while working for USA Gymnastics, MSU and Twistars, a local gymnastics gym in East Lansing, Michigan.