Survivors of disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar have reached a $380 million (€345m) settlement with USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee and their insurers after a five-year legal battle. The settlement was confirmed during a hearing in a federal bankruptcy court in Indianapolis on Monday.
"This settlement is the result of the bravery of hundreds of survivors who, despite legal obstacles, long odds and the best corporate legal talent money can buy, refused to be silent. The power of their story eventually won the day," John Manly, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said on Monday.
The settlement will cover claims brought by dozens of women. They include Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, all of whom are among the most high-profile survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse. All three women testified about the abuse they suffered during a Senate hearing this year. At the hearing, they attacked USA Gymnastics and Olympic officials for failing to stop Nassar, and they took the FBI to task over its botched investigation into Nassar's actions.
Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of abuse, said she was relieved to have reached a conclusion to the battle for compensation.
“This chapter is finally closed. Now the hard work of reform and rebuilding can begin. Whether or not justice comes, and change is made, depends on what happens next,” Denhollander tweeted on Monday.
However, Denhollander added that the settlement would not completely heal the wounds of the women Nassar abused. “Justice has been done insofar as it can be, and it is good that we rejoice in that. But remember that tomorrow everyone wakes up still living the consequences. Don’t lose that reality in the midst of sober rejoicing in the truth,” she wrote.
USA Gymnastics also agreed to set up a restorative justice program as part of the settlement. Under those terms, survivors will have a significant say in how USA Gymnastics deals with future allegations of sexual abuse.
"The restorative justice process that's part of this plan, you can't buy that," said attorney Mick Grewal, who represented dozens of women in the case. "It will be the gold standard for every institution that has a sexual assault problem."
Nassar, who had been the main doctor for Olympic gymnasts, was sentenced in federal court in 2017 to 60 years in prison on charges of possessing child sex abuse material. The following year, he was also sentenced to up to 175 years and up to 125 years, respectively, in two separate Michigan courts for abusing female gymnasts under his care.
Monday's settlement was reached after TIG Insurance agreed to pay a large portion of the money, the Wall Street Journal reported.
USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in 2018, after Olympic bronze medalist Jamie Dantzscher had filed a lawsuit and additional claims were filed on behalf of a growing number of survivors of Nassar's abuse. It has since taken more than three years to reach a settlement.
In 2018, Michigan State University, where Nassar taught and practiced medicine from 1997 until 2016 and where much of the abuse took place, reached a settlement of $500m with survivors of his abuse.