Michigan State University

MSU Reaches $500M Settlement With Nassar Survivors

Jon Harrison

Michigan State University (MSU) announced today it has reached a $500 million settlement with 332 women and girls victimized by disgraced doctor Larry Nassar.

The settlement, which still needs court approval, calls for $425 million to be paid to current claimants with $75 million set aside in a trust fund to protect any future claimants alleging sexual abuse by Nassar, according to statements from the survivors' attorneys, Manly, Stewart & Finaldi in Irvine, Calif., and MSU.

"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," the plaintiffs' attorney, John Manly, said. ". . . 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."

Robert Young, special counsel to MSU, said MSU also is pleased an agreement has been reached.

Both Manly and Young thanked the mediator.

According to MSU's statement, there will be no confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements attached to the settlement and the parties must act to address items necessary to finalize the agreement.

The settlement was agreed to by the MSU Board of Trustees during a conference call Tuesday evening. It is unknown how much insurance will cover and how MSU will pay its portion of the settlement.

The settlement applies only to MSU and the MSU staff members named in the litigation. It doesn't address claims against USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee, John Geddert and his Dimondale gym Twistars, Bela Karoli, Martha Karolyi or any other parties.

Nassar was sentenced earlier this year to 60 years in federal prison for three counts of possession of an estimated 37,000 images and videos of child pornography. That sentence runs consecutive to state prison terms of 40-175 years and 40-125 years in Ingham and Eaton counties, respectively, for multiple counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was convicted of sexually assaulting hundreds of young athletes under the guide of medical treatment.

Meanwhile, Attorney General's Special Counsel Bill Forsyth said his investigation into MSU's handling of the Nassar scandal "is still open and ongoing."

"It is very important to see resolution on the civil side, and I hope this provides some sense of relief and closure for the survivors," he said in a prepared statement.

Forsyth's investigation led to a surprise raid at MSU, which was key to charging Nassar's former boss, William Strampel, with criminal sexual conduct, willfull neglect of duties and common law offenses.

Strampel, the former dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, returns to 54-B District Court on June 6 for a preliminary examination before Judge Richard D. Ball.

Today, the AG's office filed an administrative complaint with the Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery Disciplinary Subcommittee against Strampel alleging he made inappropriate sexual-in-nature comments to female students; and that his work computer contained about 50 photographs of nude or partially nude women, sex toys and pornography, among other allegations.

Many Michigan leaders expressed support today for the MSU settlement.

Attorney General Bill Schuette said, "This is about justice for the survivors; each of the women who came forward deserve justice."

MSU Trustee Dianne Byrum said she is "pleased" a settlement was reached.

"Today's settlement is an important step forward and we must continue working to change the culture at MSU to ensure this never happens again," she said.

Source: MIRS News Release, May 16, 2018

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