The work often monitored the accounts of victims and their families, journalists, politicians and celebrities. It also looked at and evaluated news articles. 

By Charlotte Carroll
March 28, 2018

Michigan State University was billed more than $500,000 by a public relations firm in January for work involving the Larry Nassar case, the Lansing State Journal reported Wednesday.

The work was done by Weber Shandwick, a New York-based firm, and part of its duties were to monitor the accounts of victims and their families, journalists, politicians and celebrities. It also looked at and evaluated news articles. 

Weber Shandwick issued a statement Thursday, saying the report didn't accurately reflect the firm's work. 

"The majority of our work involved crisis counsel to address the tragedy. We were not hired to monitor victims’ social media accounts. As with any assignment, we forwarded to our clients traditional media and publicly available social media pertaining to the horrible tragedy at MSU, including statements made online by the victims. The victims were and continue to be the most important voices in the conversation."

Weber Shandwick​ said it worked with the university from late December and ended in early March 2018 after it resigned the account.

The firm billed Michigan State $517,343 for more than 1,440 hours of work, according to records obtained by the Journal. Eighteen different employees worked on the job and their rates ranged from $200 to $600 an hour. 

On Tuesday, a former Michigan State dean, William Strampel, was arrested on charges of criminal sexual conduct. He had a video on his computer of the ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Nassar abusing a patient. Strampel said in October 2016, two weeks after MSU fired Nassar, that he did not believe the allegations against the disgraced doctor, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. He allowed Nassar to return to work and continue seeing patients while he was the subject of a Title IX investigation.

​Nassar was sentenced up to 175 years on Michigan state charges of sexual assault, to go along with a sentence of 40 to 125 years in prison on three counts of sexual assault in Eaton County, Michigan with another 60-year sentence on federal child-pornography charges.

Read the full story from the Journal here

 

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