Michigan State to hire firm to assist George Perles in lawsuit involving Nassar case

EAST LANSING — Michigan State University is hiring an outside law firm to assist trustee George Perles in responding to allegations made in a lawsuit this week that he intervened after an MSU athlete reported she'd been raped by Larry Nassar and that the complaint was dropped shortly after.

“We are in the process of retaining counsel and once retained, Mr. Perles’ counsel will speak for him,” Robert Young, vice president and general counsel for the university, wrote in an email on Wednesday.

Perles, 84, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2007, has not commented publicly on the lawsuit.

Although Perles is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed on Monday, it alleges he worked to cover up an allegation of rape made against Larry Nassar in 1992.

More: Lawsuit: George Perles intervened after Nassar accused of drugging, raping athlete in 1992

Erika Davis claims in the lawsuit that she was drugged and raped by Nassar during a medical appointment in the spring of 1992. She was a 17-year-old MSU field hockey player when the rape occurred, according to the lawsuit. Davis also claimed that Nassar videotaped the assault.

After being told of the assault, Davis’ coach, Martha Ludwig, confronted Nassar, demanding and receiving a copy of the recording, per the lawsuit. Perles later intervened, the lawsuit says, and the complaint was dropped. Perles forced Ludwig to return the video, resign, and sign a non-disclosure agreement, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed against the university, its Board of Trustees, Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics and others. 

Perles has not returned messages left seeking comment.

Jordan Merson, Davis' New  York attorney, also has not responded to messages left seeking comment since Tuesday. On Thursday, a woman who answered the phone in Merson's office said they aren't talking to the media. 

MSU released a statement on Monday that read, in part, “We are deeply sorry for the abuses Larry Nassar has committed, and for the trauma experienced by all sexual assault survivors. Sexual abuse, assault and relationship violence are not tolerated in our campus community. While the protocols and procedures mentioned in this lawsuit do not reflect how sexual assault claims are handled at MSU, we are taking the allegations very seriously and looking into the situation.”

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