Sexual harassment and assault

University agrees to pay US$500m to victims of abusive ex-Olympic doctor Larry Nassar

Nassar assaulted girls and women while working for Michigan State; a lawyer for the victims said the settlement was a result of their ‘bravery’ because they ‘refused to be silenced’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 May, 2018, 12:56am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 May, 2018, 9:21pm

Michigan State University has agreed to pay US $500 million to 332 alleged sexual assault and harassment victims of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar, one of its former employees, settling lawsuits filed by the victims, both sides announced Wednesday.

“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, one of several lawyers representing victims, in a statement.

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“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.”

The settlement will pay US$425 million to the 332 girls and women who have come forward to date, averaging about US$1.28 million per victim. Michigan State will set aside an additional US$75 million in a trust fund for any victims who come forward in the future.

“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,” said Robert Young, a lawyer for the university.

The settlement does not apply to other organisations still facing lawsuits over Nassar’s abuse, including the United States Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and famed former Olympic coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi.

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Penn State University paid out US$109 million to 35 victims of Jerry Sandusky, an American football assistant coach who was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child rape or sexual abuse.

Jamie White, a lawyer who represented dozens of women who sued Penn State, told the Detroit Free Press of the victims: “I don’t think they can ever be made whole, but this is a step in the right direction.”