May 16, 2018

USA: More Than 300 Larry Nassar Victims Have Reached A $500 Million Settlement With Michigan State University Over Sexual Assault.

New York Daily News
written by Terence Cullen
Wednesday May 16, 2016

Michigan State University reached a $500 million settlement Wednesday with hundreds of victims who sued the school after being sexually assaulted by disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

The agreement is with 332 girls and women across the world who said officials at the East Lansing-based school disregarded complaints about Nassar's misdeeds for decades.

"We're pleased with the outcome, but the fight's not over," Vince Finaldi, one of the attorneys for the survivors, told the Daily News.

They agreed to receive $425 million from Michigan State on Wednesday morning, he said. A third-party official — usually a retired judge — will decide how much each victim receives.

Michigan State will earmark the remaining $75 million for future victims who come forward.

Nassar, who worked at the school from 1997 to 2016, is serving a 60-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to child pornography charges last year.

The 54-year-old former osteopathic physician was separately slapped with a 40- to 125-year prison sentence earlier this year after copping to 10 counts of sexual assault on girls and women he was supposed to treat.

Nassar sat through a marathon of sentencing hearings for those charges, during which victims including Olympian Aly Raisman detailed how he sexually abused them under the veil of medical procedures.

Michigan State's settlement is nearly five times larger than the $109 million agreement Penn State University made with 35 boys and men who accused ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexually abusing them.

Michigan State faced a wave of criticism for its handling the allegations against Nassar, which went as far back as the 1990s.

Lou Anna Simon stepped down in January after 13 years as Michigan State's president amid criticism she gave a poor response to the Nassar fallout.

Finaldi said the settlement lets the survivors move "on to the next stages of dealing with the abuse they suffered," adding there were "mixed emotions" after Wednesday's announcement.

"Most of them are satisfied Michigan State decided to do the right thing," he told The News. "It's never going to be something that's going to be a happy event. Because in their opinion they shouldn't be here in the first place."

He declined to speculate on why the school would settle, but aid it's not made "without some implicit acknowledgement of the harm that was done."

Nassar's hundreds of accusers will also be honored this July at the ESPYS, where they'll received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, ESPN announced Wednesday.

The university didn't indicate how it would make the payments.

"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," Robert Young, the school's special counsel, said in a news release.

The settlement doesn't cover suits against USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and several facilities including the Karolyi Ranch in Texas — where Nassar abused some of his victims.

"Although the MSU chapter is closed, we turn to another chapter and continue," Finaldi said.

Finaldi, who's representing some of Nassar's victims in those cases, said "we're intent on proceeding" with those cases.

"This quest for some of the survivors, which is a quest to eradicate sexual abuse against kids, continues," he said. "They're going to continue that fight in many different areas, in many different ways."

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