Michigan State University reaches $500m settlement with Larry Nassar victims

Michigan State University reaches $500m settlement with Larry Nassar victims
Larry Nassar

Michigan State University has announced a $500m 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 $109m 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, $425m would be paid to current claimants and $75m 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.

"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.

Olympic gold medalists Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney say they were among Nassar's victims.

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

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