MSU to Pay Larry Nassar Victims $500M in Settlements

May JohnsonMay 17, 2018

Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens during the sentencing phase in Eaton, County Circuit Court on January 31, 2018 in Charlotte, Mich.

Now, in the midst of ongoing lawsuits and investigations, the sport of gymnastics is figuring out how to move forward; and advocates and victims, like Aly, are continuing to speak out about sexual assault and advocate for change. Maroney wrote in a victim impact statement that the abuse began when she was around 13 or 14 and didn't stop until she left the sport years later. It's also unclear where the money will come from.

The criminal investigation into the university's role is being conducted by special counsel Bill Forsyth, on behalf of the Midwestern state's top law enforcement office.

Rachael Denhollander, the first to publicly accuse Nassar, said she was grateful for the settlement. But she said she still has not seen any "meaningful reform" at the university.

The settlement in principle was agreed to by Michigan State's board of trustees in a conference call Tuesday night, the statement said. The remaining $75 million will be held in reserve in the event future lawsuits are filed against the university over Nassar. The victims certainly deserve this, given how Michigan State contributed to enabling Nassar, including the various alleged instances where school officials didn't believe accusations. The school has insisted that no one covered up assaults.

Nassar was sentenced up to 175 years on MI state charges of sexual assault, to go along with a sentence of 40 to 125 years in prison on three counts of sexual assault with another 60-year sentence on federal child-pornography charges. He is serving sentences that will likely keep him in prison for life.

Nassar's assaults were mostly committed in MI at his Lansing-area home, campus clinic and area gyms.

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The assaults took place in multiple locations, including at an MSU sports medicine clinic and the famed Texas training facility where the Karolyis coached elite gymnasts. Nassar's work far away from campus was spelled out in his employment contract with Michigan State. More that 150 women spoke at Nassar's sentencing hearing, alleging that he had abused them while claiming to be providing medical treatment.

Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing, said part of the package - eliminating governmental immunity for those who commit sexual assault and in some instances, government bodies that harbored them - is needed outside of the Nassar case.

He counted on his charm and reputation to deflect any questions. They said Nassar would use a sheet or his body to block the parent's view.

Other cases involved participants in soccer, figure skating, rowing, softball, cheerleading, wrestling, diving, dance, and track and field.

"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", plaintiffs' attorney John Manly said. According to ESPN, the school has also cut ties with former president Lou Anna Simon and former athletic director Mark Hollis as a result of the Nassar scandal. Its general fund budget is $1.36 billion. State and capital appropriations were valued at $338 million.

The settlement is only between the victims, MSU, and the university's current and past employees, and doesn't involve USA Gymnastics and other parties who have been sued. It has no impact on the ligation against USA Gymnastics or the United States Olympic Committee.

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