Michigan State University (MSU) has signed a US $ 500 million deal with hundreds of young women who have been sexually assaulted by athletic therapist Larry Nassar.
This “global agreement” reached by the lawyers of 332 victims puts an end to the prosecution of university employees – where the ex-doctor was working – involved in the biggest scandal in the history of American sport, said the MSU in a statement.
Other complaints include the American Gymnastics Federation, the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and the coaching couple Bela and Marta Karolyi, who managed the training center for the National Gymnastics Team in Texas.
Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges while providing treatment. He has also been in possession of child pornography and is currently serving a sentence of several decades in prison.
He treated university athletes and young gymnasts at his Michigan State University office. He was world-renowned at the time when he also worked for USA Gymnastics, which takes care of Olympic gymnasts.
Olympic gold medalists Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney are among the victims.
During this historic trial, the victims, champions as well as anonymous, delivered poignant testimonies of their broken lives.
“All survivors sincerely hope that this agreement will lead to institutional reforms that will end the threat of sexual assault in sport, in schools and in our society,” said John Manly, a lawyer for many victims, in a statement.
inquiry still ongoing
In addition to this compensation, a judicial inquiry headed by Special Prosecutor William Forsyth is still ongoing and aims to understand why no one has stopped Nassar in the MSU.
“It is very important to have reached an agreement on the civilian side,” Forsyth said in a statement, adding that the investigation “remains open and continues.”
William Strampel, former Dean of the MSU School of Osteopathic Medicine, where Larry Nassar was a salaried employee, was arrested and jailed in late March. The 70-year-old is charged with criminal sexual behavior, professional misconduct and willful negligence.
Olympic gymnastics champion Alexandra Raisman, herself a victim of the practitioner’s touching, decided to sue the Federation and the USOC for “negligence” because of her treatment of sexual assaults by Larry Nassar.
The 23-year-old gymnast believes the two organizations “knew or ought to have known” of the doctor’s abusive behavior.
The USOC acknowledged its responsibility and announced that an independent commission of inquiry would “determine how abuses of this magnitude have not been detected for as long”.