Michigan State University to pay $500m in sex abuse cases
In excess of 300 females claim to have been assaulted by sports doctor Larry Nassar
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar: pleaded guilty to molesting women and girls under the guise it was treatment. Photograph: Rena Laverty/AFP/Getty Images
Michigan State University has announced a $500 million (€424 million) settlement with more than 300 women and girls who said they were assaulted by sports doctor Larry Nassar in the worst sex abuse case in sports history.
The deal surpasses the more than $109 million dollars that Penn State University paid to settle claims by at least 35 people that assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused boys, though the Nassar settlement involves far more victims.
Michigan State and lawyers for 332 victims announced the deal after negotiating privately with the help of a mediator. Under the agreement, $425 million would be paid to current claimants and $75 million would be set aside for any future claims.
The statement does not indicate how much money each victim would receive. It also does not say how Michigan State will pay the bill.
Michigan State was accused of ignoring or dismissing complaints about Nassar, some as far back as the 1990s. The university, however, has insisted that no one covered up assaults.
“We are truly sorry to all the survivors and their families for what they have been through, and we admire the courage it has taken to tell their stories,” said Brian Breslin, chairman of Michigan State’s governing board.
Awareness and prevention
“We recognise the need for change on our campus and in our community around sexual assault awareness and prevention.”
Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting women and girls under the guise that it was treatment. He was also found to have child pornography and is serving prison sentences that will likely keep him locked up for life.
He treated campus athletes and scores of young gymnasts at his Michigan State office. He had an international reputation while working at the same time for USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.
Lead attorney John Manly said: “This historic settlement came about through the bravery of more than 300 women and girls who had the courage to stand up and refuse to be silenced.”
The deal applies only to Michigan State. Lawsuits still are pending against Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and an elite gymnastics club in the Lansing-area where assaults occurred. – PA