Michigan State University agreed on Wednesday to pay $US500 million to settle lawsuits filed by 332 alleged victims of disgraced former sports physician Larry Nassar.
The settlement brings to an end the university’s involvement in litigation over Larry Nassar’s rampant sexual abuse of girls and women under the guise of medical treatment.
Michigan State University will pay $US425 million to the girls and women who have come forward to date, averaging about $US1.28 million per victim, while, an additional $US75 million will be set aside by the university in a trust fund for any victims who come forward in the future.
“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,” John Manly, one of several attorneys representing victims, said in a statement.
“It is the sincere 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.”
Announcing the settlement, Michigan State interim president John Engler said: “A successful mediation has been a priority for the university and for me since I arrived on campus in February.
“The entire MSU community has worked hard at changes to make sure a monster like Larry Nassar could never hide again on our campus. We also are working every day to prevent sexual misconduct on our campus and have a community that respects women and all who work or visit here. Today’s announcement is important in the healing process, not only for the survivors, but also for the university as we collectively move forward.”
The settlement applies only to Michigan State. The US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, and famed former Olympic coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi all still face lawsuits filed by Nassar victims, who include Olympians Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas.
“I am very grateful to have reached a settlement with MSU that reflects the incredible damage which took place on MSU’s campus,” said Rachael Denhollander, whose decision in 2016 to file a police report against Nassar and then tell her story to the Indianapolis Star ultimately brought about the once-respected doctor’s downfall.
Larry Nassar, the former Olympic gymnastics doctor is serving an effective life sentence in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting nine girls and women in Michigan, as well as to federal child pornography crimes.