Michigan State University has agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 women and girls who said they were assaulted by sports doctor Larry Nassar in the worst sex-abuse case in sports history, the university announced Wednesday.
The deal surpasses the more than $109 million that Penn State University paid to settle claims by at least 35 people that assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused boys, though the Nassar settlement involves far more victims.
“We are truly sorry to all the survivors and their families for what they have been through, and we admire the courage it has taken to tell their stories,” said Brian Breslin, chairman of Michigan State’s governing board. “We recognize the need for change on our campus and in our community around sexual assault awareness and prevention.”
The statement did not indicate how much money each victim would receive. It also did not say how Michigan State will pay the bill.
The university and lawyers for 332 victims announced the deal after negotiating privately with the help of a mediator. Under the agreement, $425 million would be paid to current claimants and $75 million would be set aside for any future claims.
Michigan State was accused of ignoring or dismissing complaints about Nassar, some as far back as the 1990s. The school has insisted that no one covered up assaults.
Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting women and girls under the guise that it was treatment. He was also found to have child pornography and is serving prison sentences that will likely keep him locked up for life.
He treated campus athletes and scores of young gymnasts at his Michigan State office. He built an international reputation while working at the same time for USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.
Olympic gold medalists Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney say they were among Nassar’s victims.
“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,” said John Manly, the lead attorney for the victims.
The deal applies only to Michigan State. Lawsuits still are pending against Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and an elite gymnastics club in the Lansing-area where assaults occurred.
SOURCE: The Associated Press