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GVSU alum returns home to speak about investigative journalism's role in the Larry Nassar case

Marisa Kwiatkowski, Indianapolis Star journalist and Grand Valley graduate, spoke in Grand Rapids about her role in the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse case.
GVSU journalist professor Jeff Kelly Lowenstein talks with Indystar reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski

GVSU journalist professor Jeff Kelly Lowenstein talks with Indystar reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski /John Rothwell

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Marisa Kwiatkowski takes questions after her talk

Marisa Kwiatkowski takes questions after her talk /John Rothwell

Marisa Kwiatkowski

Marisa Kwiatkowski /John Rothwell

A large group of people gathered in Grand Valley State University's Loosemore Auditorium on Monday, March 26, 2018 to hear GVSU 2005 School of Communications graduate and award winning Indianapolis Star journalist Marisa Kwiatkowski speak.

It was Kwiatkowski along with two of her colleagues who first broke the Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse story in September 2016.

In March of 2016 while working on an investigation into failures to report sexual abuse in schools in Indiana, Kwiatkowski had a source suggest looking into USA Gymnastics. The tip moved her.

“It was clear from the tip that I got and the calls that were made looking into the tip that this was going to be important investigation,” Kwiatkowski said.  

Her bosses at the Indystar let her fly to Georgia the same day of receiving the tip to investigate court cases and documents that talked about USA Gymnastics policy on handling sexual abuse allegations.

“What it showed was a policy of dismissing allegations of hearsay unless they had been signed by the victim, the parent, or a witness to the abuse,” added Kwiatkowski.

Out of that investigation came the “Out of Balance series” that looked into years of sexual abuse allegations involving the USA Gymnastics organization. With more tips and people coming forward with their stories, the investigation kept growing.

The investigation grew to uncover the crimes of Larry Nassar, the doctor at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University who is now serving what could be considered a life sentence for child sexual abuse and child pornography charges.

The Indystar website describes Kwiatkowski as an investigative reporter who handles investigations relating to social services issues, including child abuse and neglect, poverty, elder abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence and access to mental health services.

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