Attorneys representing hundreds of allegedly abused Michigan State athletes reached an agreement with university representatives on Tuesday afternoon. The five hundred million dollar settlement is the largest payout for a sexual misconduct suit involving a university. The settlement did not include changes in university policy or acknowledge the claims against disgraced doctor Larry Nassar and the school.
Four hundred and twenty-five million dollars will be used towards current claimants of the suit, and the other seventy-five million will be kept in reserves for two years in the event that more people come forth with claims of abuse by Nassar.
Rachel Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of abuse eighteen months ago, says she is “very happy that [the athletes] are done with litigation” but disappointed that there will be no new changes in policy. Attorneys for the victims stated that claims against Nassar had been made as early as 1997, but the employees who were made aware of the abuse did not properly report it.
Nassar has been sentenced to one hundred and seventy-five years in prison for criminal sexual misconduct. The other defendants in the lawsuit were condemned for missing opportunities to put an end to Nassar’s extensive abuse of young women at Michigan State. These defendants include “USA Gymnastics; the U.S. Olympic Committee; Twistars, a local gym where Nassar saw patients on a weekly basis; and specific individuals at some of those institutions”. The other defendants have not yet reached an agreement on a settlement.
Attorney David Mittleman, who represents many of the victims, says that there are currently no dates scheduled for further negotiations with Twistars, USAG, or USOC, and that he has not seen the same motivation to come to a settlement from these other parties.
In the aftermath of the Nassar trial, Michigan State has also parted ways with its former athletic director, Mark Hollis, and president Lou Anna Simon.
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