Michigan State University announced Wednesday that it has agreed to pay a total of $500 million to the more than 300 women and girls who have accused the disgraced doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assault over the years. Nassar, who was employed by the university and also worked for USA Gymnastics, was slapped with two prison sentences that could each exceed 100 years in length, effectively ensuring he will spend the rest of his life behind bars over his conviction and guilty plea to decades of sexual abuse of the athletes who sought his care.
“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,” Brian Breslin, chairman of Michigan State’s governing board, said, according to The Associated Press. “We recognize the need for change on our campus and in our community around sexual assault awareness and prevention.” Indeed, last month, William Strampel, the former dean of College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU, was arrested on accusations that he used his office to “to harass, discriminate, demean, sexually proposition and sexually assault female students in violation of his statutory duty as a public office.” Strampel, 70, was Nassar’s boss.
It’s not clear how much money each individual victim — there are 332 total — will be paid, but $75 million of the total settlement will be held in a trust fund for any future claims that may surface. Also, victims who collect payments will not be compelled to sign a confidentiality agreement with the university. The compensation will only be paid to patients that saw Nassar through MSU.
John Manly, the victims’ lead attorney, said, “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.” Lawsuits involving USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee are still pending.
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Read the full story at The Associated Press.