Michigan State University to pay $500 million in Larry Nassar abuse settlement | News | DW | 16.05.2018
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Michigan State University to pay $500 million in Larry Nassar abuse settlement

Michigan State University has agreed to pay $500 million to victims of Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics doctor who had an on-campus clinic at the university. What individuals might receive in the settlement is unclear.

Michigan State University announced Wednesday it has agreed to a $500 million (€424 million) settlement with hundreds of former victims Larry Nassar.

"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 agreement with attorneys represents 332 survivorsand is a "global settlement," the school said. It resolves claims against individuals that were employed by the faculty and implicated in the wide-ranging scandal.

The statement did not indicate how much money each victim would receive and it also did not say how Michigan State would pay the bill.

Also, it did not resolve claims against USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, star gymnastics coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi, and others. Nor did it end a criminal probe of the university's actions with regard to Nassar's behavior.

Nassar was sentenced in January to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting hundreds of young women over a two-decade period under the guise of medical treatment.

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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," attorney John Manly, who represents many of the victims, said in a statement.

Unresolved issues

The scandal is the biggest of its kind in US Olympic history and has had far-reaching ripple effects. Athletes testified in court that girls were easy prey at the Karolyi ranch outside of Houston, where parents were not permitted. Nassar, however, had unsupervised access to girls' dormitory rooms.

Victims have been imploring Texas authorities to investigate whether Bela and Martha Karolyi could have done more to prevent Nassar's sexual abuse at the couple's Texas training center.

Five former gymnasts, including two who say Nassar abused them at the Karolyis' ranch near Huntsville say Texas authorities have focused on Nassar while overlooking whether the Karolyis could have prevented abuse.

Martha Karolyi told US news program "Dateline NBC" last month that Nassar conned her and her husband in much the same way that he conned the parents and coaches of the girls he abused.

"I feel extremely bad. I don't feel responsible, but I feel extremely hurt that this thing happened and it happened everywhere, but it happened here, also," Marta Karolyi said.

av/msh (AP, Reuters)

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