According to the Lansing State Journal, Michigan State University has agreed to a $500 million settlement with the hundreds of women and girls—a number nearing 300—who say Larry Nassar sexually assaulted them.
Dr. Larry Nassar is a sports doctor who has been convicted of molesting seven girls—in addition to the hundreds whose cases did not come to court—while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
The 54-year-old was charged with molesting young, primarily gymnasts, under the guise of treatment at his Lansing-area home and a campus clinic. Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly come forward as Nassar’s victims.
The news of his abuse broke in 2017 when he was accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women. Nassar’s sentencing took place on Wednesday, January 24th. Ultimately, he received 175 years in prison.
Nassar admitted to the abuse, and he agreed that his conduct had no legitimate medical purpose. He also admitted that he did not have the girls’ consent.
The girls have testified that Nassar molested them with his hands. This sometimes occurred when a parent was present in the room while they were seeking help for gymnastics injuries.
“He convinced these girls that this was some type of legitimate treatment,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Poviliatis told a judge last summer. “Why would they question him? Why would they question this gymnastics god?”
The settlement and the details were announced in a statement from attorneys representing victims and the university. A portion of the settlement, around $75 million, will be held back in the event of future lawsuits filed against MSU over Nassar.
"Michigan State has shown leadership by its willingness to begin closing this dark chapter," Jamie White, one of the attorneys suing MSU, told the Lansing State Journal. "The victims of Nassar can never be made whole but this is a step in the right direction."
In a surprising switch from usual procedure, the settlement does not come with a confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure agreements, according to the release.
"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, an attorney representing many of the victims. "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."
Robert Young, special counsel to MSU and former state Supreme Court justice, also released a statement: "Michigan State is pleased that we have been able to agree in principle on a settlement that is fair to the survivors of Nassar's crimes. We appreciate the hard work both sides put into the mediation, and the efforts of the mediator, which achieved a result that is responsible and equitable."
Sexual assault claims against Nassar were first made public by Rachael Denhollander. Denhollander spoke to ESPN about the settlement.
"I'm very happy that we're done with litigation," Rachael Denhollander told the network. "I'm very grateful for the historic number that acknowledges some of the hardships that these women have suffered. I'm also very disappointed in a missed opportunity to create meaningful policy changes."
Please pray for these young women and that they can heal after the terrible things that have happened to them. What do you think about the settlement?
In other news, Tim Allen just revealed where "Last Man Standing" will pick up. It might surprise you.