Uni­ver­sity set­tles with 332 Nas­sar vic­tims

‘We are truly sorry to all the sur­vivors’


LANSING, MICH. • Michi­gan State Uni­ver­sity agreed to pay US$500 mil­lion to set­tle claims from 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, of­fi­cials an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

The deal sur­passes the $100 mil­lion-plus paid by Penn State Uni­ver­sity to set­tle claims by at least 35 peo­ple who ac­cused as­sis­tant foot­ball coach Jerry San­dusky of sex­ual abuse, though the Nas­sar deal 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.”

It’s not clear how much each vic­tim will re­ceive, al­though the money will not be di­vided equally. It’s also un­clear where the money will come from. Uni­ver­sity spokes­woman Emily Guer­rant said school lead­ers now will work on a way to pay the bill.

Rachael Den­hol­lan­der of Louisville, Ky., who in 2016 was the first woman to pub­licly iden­tify her­self as a vic­tim, said the agree­ment “re­flects the in­cred­i­ble dam­age which took place on MSU’s cam­pus.” But she said she still has not seen any “mean­ing­ful re­form” at the uni­ver­sity.

Nas­sar treated cam­pus ath­letes and scores of young gym­nasts at his Michi­gan State of­fice, build­ing an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion while work­ing at the same time for USA Gym­nas­tics, which trains Olympians.

The uni­ver­sity and lawyers for 332 vic­tims an­nounced the deal after ne­go­ti­at­ing pri­vately with the help of a me­di­a­tor. Un­der the agree­ment, $425 mil­lion will be paid to cur­rent claimants and $75 mil­lion will be set aside for any future claims. Lawyers will also be com­pen­sated out of the $500 mil­lion pool.

Michi­gan State was ac­cused of ig­nor­ing or dis­miss­ing com­plaints about Nas­sar, some as far back as the 1990s. 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.

Larry Nas­sar

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