Michigan State to pay out at least $500 million to Nassar victims

He was sentenced to 175 years in prison in January for those crimes after having already been sentenced to 60 years behind bars over federal child pornography charges.

Michigan State University said Wednesday that it will pay $500 million to the 332 alleged victims of sexual abuse at the hands of former faculty member and sports team doctor Larry Nassar to end a barrage of civil claims filed against the university over the past year.

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

The victims filed lawsuits in federal court in Grand Rapids, Mich., and state courts in California.

Numerous survivors said in their statements MSU and other gymnastics authorities got wind of the assaults in the late '90s, but no actions were taken against Nassar.

USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and a local gym where Nassar worked, Twistars, are also named as defendants in the suit. John Engler, interim president, said costs will be borne through a combination of tuition and state aid, as the Detroit Free Press reported.

There are approximately 300 victims related to the Nassar assaults. She had both praise and criticism for the university with the announcement of the settlement.

MSU officials say there will be no confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements attached to the settlement. "However, I am deeply disappointed at the missed opportunity for meaningful reform and change at the University".

Olympic gold medallist Aly Raisman gives a victim impact statement during Nassar's sentencing hearing
Olympic gold medallist Aly Raisman gives a victim impact statement during Nassar's sentencing hearing

Inside Higher Ed will have more coverage of this settlement in the coming hours.

Jonh Manly, an attorney for the women and girls who sued MSU alleging abuse by Nassar, credited those who came forward. "It is the honest hope of all of the survivors that the legacy of this settlement will be far-reaching institutional reform that will end the threat of sexual assault in sports, schools and throughout our society".

The settlement in principle was agreed to by Michigan State's board of trustees in a conference call Tuesday night, the statement said. The university faces claims from at least 300 victims.

"This has been a very long and exhausting road, especially for those who have been so vocal from the very beginning of this case", she said.

"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.

During a remarkable series of court hearings, dozens of women came forward to speak against Nassar as well as the institutions that they said protected him, including Michigan State. "My dream is that one day, everyone will know what the words, 'Me too, ' signify, but they will be educated and able to protect themselves from predators like Larry, so they will never ever ever have to say the words, 'Me too'".

In 2014, the university determined that his "pelvic floor" treatments were medically legitimate, despite complaints.

MSU paid nine law firms more than $11 million to defend the university in the lawsuits from the women and girls, according to documents the university released to the Lansing State Journal in response to public records requests.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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