Michigan State University has agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 women and girls who have said they were sexually abused by sports doctor Larry Nassar.
Nassar worked at MSU from 1997 to 2016.
The university and lawyers for 332 victims announced the deal Wednesday after private negotiations.
Brian Breslin, chair of the university’s board, said in a statement, “We are truly sorry to all the survivors and their families for what they have been through…”
He also said the university understands “the need for change on our campus and in our community around sexual assault awareness and prevention.”
Under the agreement, $425 million would be paid to the currently known victims. The remaining $75 million would be set aside for any future claims.
John Manly, one of the lawyers for the victims, said in a statement, “This historic settlement came about through the bravery of more than 300 women and girls who had the courage to stand up and refused to be silenced.”
Michigan State has been accused of ignoring or dismissing complaints about Nassar, some as far back as the 1990s. The university says that no one covered up assaults.
Almost all of the victims say Nassar touched them in and around their sex organs during medical appointments, without wearing gloves. Nassar told the patients that the invasive action was necessary to treat their sports-related injuries.
Along with Michigan State, Nassar also worked at USA Gymnastics for almost 30 years.
Many top American gymnasts, including Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, have said Nassar sexually abused them. They say their abuse happened during training camps in Texas and at competitions around the world.
But the majority of Nassar’s victims say they were abused during medical appointments at Michigan State.
Nassar received two prison sentences earlier this year in Michigan -- one for up to 125 years and another for up to 175 years. The cases involved the abuse of young women at his Michigan State office.
During sentencing, hundreds of women read statements in court about the effects of the abuse.
Last year, Nassar was also sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for possessing sexual images of children.
The settlement only concerns Michigan State. Many victims have brought similar legal actions against USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee, national team coaches and local clubs where Nassar treated gymnasts.
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Ashley Thompson wrote this article based on reports from the Associated Press and Reuters. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
campus - n. the area and buildings around a university, college, school, etc.
assault - n. the crime of trying or threatening to hurt someone physically
courage - n. the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous
complaint - n. the act of saying or writing that you are unhappy or dissatisfied with something
glove - n. a covering for the hand that has separate parts for each finger