MSU to settle Nassar survivor lawsuits

Larry Nassar in Eaton County courtroom

Larry Nassar in Eaton County courtroom

Michigan University, where serial sex abuser Larry Nassar practised medicine, has announced it has agreed to a $500m settlement with hundreds of former 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", John Manly, an attorney representing numerous victims, told the State Journal. "It is the honest 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".

That's certainly a big deal for victims; there are now more than 300 victims who have come forward, and given the $75 million set aside in the settlement for future victims, it's horrifying to think that there are likely many more out still out there. Rachael Denhollander, the first person to accuse Nassar of abuse publicly, said she was "very grateful" that a settlement was reached but that more work needed to be done.

During a remarkable series of court hearings, dozens of women came forward to speak against Nassar as well as the institutions that they said protected him, including Michigan State.

Nassar, who worked as an osteopathic physician for USA Gymnastics and was a faculty member at Michigan State, was convicted in three courts of charges that included abusing his patients.

A lawyer for Michigan State, Robert Young, said, "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".

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Many questions remain about the nature of the settlement, including where the money will come from. The university faces claims from at least 300 victims.

"This has been a very long and exhausting road, especially for those who have been so vocal from the very beginning of this case", she said.

The Michigan State settlement is only part of several more ongoing legal battles related to Nassar.

"I just think it's important for Michigan State University to not allow itself to be defined by this incident and for our current leader and future leader to step up and use this as an opportunity to educate others and be a leader in our national efforts to protect children", he said. "Little did I know, you did this for years". The school had insisted that no one covered up assaults, although Nassar's boss, former medical school dean William Strampel, was later charged with failing to properly supervise him and committing his own sexual misconduct.

MSU paid nine law firms more than $11 million to defend the university in the lawsuits from the women and girls, according to documents the university released to the Lansing State Journal in response to public records requests.

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