USA Gymnastics and US Olympic and Paralympic Committee agree to pay $ 380 million to survivors of former Olympic team doctor and convicted sexual predator Larry Nassar

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USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee have agreed to pay $ 380 million and several other non-monetary arrangements to settle lawsuits brought by the survivors of former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar.

The settlement agreement came after the final round of mediation in Indianapolis and closes a major chapter in a legal battle that began more than five years ago when former Olympian Jamie Dantzscher filed the first civil lawsuit against the doomed serial sexual predator. More than 500 others eventually filed similar complaints against former Nassar employers.

Coupled with Michigan State University’s $ 500 million settlement in May 2018, the total of $ 880 million in settlements is the largest involving a single abuser in a sexual assault case, according to plaintiff’s attorney John. Manly.

“This settlement is the result of the bravery of hundreds of survivors who, despite legal hurdles, long chances and the best corporate legal talent money can buy, refused to remain silent. The Power of Their Story ultimately won the day, ”Manly said.

While settlement talks had been underway for years, a formal agreement was reached on Monday, according to a number of people, including Manly, who represents more than 180 Nassar survivors. He declined to discuss the details of the beyond-timed mediation talks, but said, “I have handled thousands of cases in my life. This is the one I’m most proud of.”

Nassar has worked as a volunteer with USA Gymnastics for more than two decades, most notably as the national team’s medical coordinator from 1996. He pleaded guilty in 2017 to possession of child pornography and, in early 2018, pleaded guilty to sexual assault on his former patients. . He was sentenced to over 100 years in prison for his crimes. Multiple investigations have revealed that officials at USA Gymnastics, USOPC and Michigan State University have failed to end Nassar’s abuse despite years of complaints and warning signs.

A source familiar with the mediation talks said a committee of Nassar abuse survivors, which included former Olympians Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Tasha Schwikert as well as lawyers Rachael Denhollander and Sarah Klein, had rejected settlement offers earlier.

“This settlement came about as a result of a five-year open-ended legal fight that the USOPC and USA Gymnastics decided to initiate against me and over 500 surviving sisters,” said Klein, who has served as co-chair. from the survivors’ committee, to ESPN on Monday. . “After thousands of hours of this committee’s time of survivors, blood, sweat and tears, today we have won.”

Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault in late 2016, commented on the landmark settlement on Twitter.

“This chapter is finally closed. Now the hard work of reform and reconstruction can begin. Whether justice is served or not and change is made depends on what happens next,” Denhollander tweeted.

Monday’s settlement includes a lawsuit against former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny and former national team coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi, who for decades led Team USA‘s gymnasts to gold. at several Olympic Games. Penny, who ran USA Gymnastics from 2005 to 2017, has been charged with tampering with evidence in the Nassar investigation. He has pleaded not guilty and his case is pending.

As part of the settlement, USA Gymnastics agreed to put in place a restorative justice program that will give survivors significant influence over how the organization will deal with sexual assault issues in the future.

“The restorative justice process that is part of this plan, you can’t buy it,” said lawyer Mick Grewal, who represents more than 100 women in this case. “This will be the gold standard for every institution that has a sexual assault problem.”

Grewal said the two sides originally proposed a $ 400 million settlement in October, but USA Gymnastics had not secured funding for that full amount. He said part of the compromise that led to Monday’s settlement was to ensure that the non-monetary arrangements help bring about future changes in the sport.

“I am proud of the non-monetary reform commitments in particular – this represents hard work on the part of the committee members and I look forward to seeing these changes happen,” Denhollander said on Twitter.

Grewal and Manly said their clients plan to continue fighting to hold others accountable for not ending Nassar’s abuse sooner. In October, the Department of Justice said it would examine the possibility of prosecuting former FBI agents who received complaints about Nassar in 2015. A report by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice , released this summer, revealed that officers made several mistakes in the way they handled the case, allowing Nassar to continue mistreating patients for more than a year before being arrested by University Police. the state of Michigan.

“Again, we did our job. However, Attorney General Garland didn’t do his job,” Klein said Monday. “None of the USOPC or FBI officials who allowed Nassar to assault us as children have been charged with criminal charges. I will not rest until this happens.”

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