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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has launched an investigation into nearly two decades of sexual misconduct at Michigan State University in an effort to understand how disgraced former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassarwas able to abuse young women for years before the university took action.
At a press conference Saturday, Schuette vowed to shine a "bright light" into every department at the university.
"It is abundantly clear that a full and complete investigation of what happened at Michigan State University, from the presidents office on down, is required," Schuette said. "No individual or department is off limits."
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Jason Cody, a spokesman for Michigan State, said the university intends to fully cooperate with the attorney general’s office.
Retired Kent County prosecutor William Forsyth will serve as the special counsel heading the investigation, which will include assistance from the Michigan State police.
Forsyth cautioned that the probe will take time, as investigators will have to interview more than 150 women who have accused Nassar of abuse, as well as track down former university administrators.
"I can’t promise that everybody is going to be satisfied with our report and what we find, but I can promise you that we’re going to work extremely hard at our task," he said.
Former Michigan State gymnast Lindsey Lemke, who delivered a powerful testimony at Nassar's hearing, said she's hopeful that the new investigation will "help the truth come out."
"I just think that there needs to be transparency and I hope that the investigation shows the truth of every single thing that's been hidden," she said told NBC News. "These girls all deserve justice."
Lemke, 22, was among the first women to come forward and accuse Nassar of years of sexual abuse. She later sued both Nassar and Michigan State.
"I think that I've become a lot stronger through this entire situation," she said. "But at the same time, I can't think of my gymnastic career without thinking about Larry Nassar."
Forsyth acknowledged hearing statements delivered by victims in court and said he would not allow preconceived notions of guilt or innocence drive the investigation.
"Quite frankly, I think that's in part what got Michigan State in some trouble here in the sense that they withheld certain information — maybe because it was going to put them in a better light," Forsyth said. "You simply can't do that."
On Thursday, Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct in connection with seven minors. He has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 150 women.
Later Thursday, Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon resigned amid criticism over how the school handled the Nassar scandal. And on Friday, Mark Hollis, Michigan State University's athletic director, also announced he would be leaving the school.
USA Gymnastics on Friday complied with an ultimatum issued by the U.S. Olympic Committee and said its entire board of directors will resign within the week over its handling of the scandal.
Lemke, who will graduate from MSU this December, said she's glad that officials are accepting responsibility for how the Nassar scandal was mishandled, but she also hopes that the university takes steps to ensure sexual abuse never happens again.
"Now they need to make a whole new plan of what they're going to do when something happens along the lines of sexual assault," she said.