Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Larry Nassar victims receive record-breaking settlement

Larry Nassar victims receive record-breaking settlement

Reactions began within minutes of the announcement today that Michigan State University reached a $500 million settlement with hundreds of women and girls who say they were sexually assaulted by sports doctor Larry Nassar in the worst sex-abuse case in sports history.

The deal surpasses the $100 million-plus paid by Penn State University to settle claims by at least 35 people who accused assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse, though the Nassar agreement involves far more victims. Nassar himself was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison, and then an additional 40 to 125 years, in February, after already having been sentenced to 60 years for a separate charge back in December.

The deal was announced Wednesday by Michigan State and lawyers for 332 victims.

Nassar worked at MSU and USA Gymnastics for decades.

According to posts on social media and comments to the press, Nassar survivors and their families are feeling a mix of emotions today. More that 150 women spoke at Nassar's sentencing hearing, alleging that he had abused them while claiming to be providing medical treatment.

Denhollander reacted to the settlement with a statement on her Facebook page. "I'm also very disappointed in a missed opportunity to create meaningful policy changes".

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Five former gymnasts, including two who say Nassar abused them at the Karolyis' ranch near Huntsville say Texas authorities have focused on Nassar while overlooking whether the Karolyis could have prevented abuse.

"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.

Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after he was convicted of abusing 140 girls and one boy while he was a sports physician at Michigan State University for almost two decades and as a doctor for the Olympic gymnastics team. It does not address claims against USA Gymnastics and United States Olympic Committee (USOC), or others parties that have been sued in connection with Nassar.

The settlement in principle was agreed to by the MSU Board of Trustees during a conference call held Tuesday night, May 15.

The settlement applies only to Michigan State University. Michigan State University, his former employer, argued it's immune as a state institution from being sued - and noted the statute of limitations on numerous cases had expired. "Little did I know, you did this for years".

Earlier this month, the credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service lowered the MSU's bond rating in the wake of the Nassar scandal, which means the school will no longer be eligible for preferred interest rates. In 2014 the university's investigation of allegations against Nassar turned up empty. The lawsuits eventually included 332 women.

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