USA Gymnastics Settles With Nassar Abuse Victims: NPR

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After a years-long legal battle, USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and their insurers agreed to pay the victims of disgraced former team doctor Larry Nassar $ 380 million.



MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Three hundred and eighty million dollars – that’s how much USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and their insurers, will pay women who were sexually abused by former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar. The settlement comes after a five-year legal battle, and it includes a pledge for USA Gymnastics and the Olympic Committee to designate some of their board seats to survivors. Lawyer John Manly represents more than 180 of Nassar’s survivors. He’s joining us now to talk about the settlement.

Mr. Manly, thank you for being here.

JOHN MANLY: Thanks for having me, Mary Louise.

KELLY: I mentioned you’ve been working on this for five years. Is this a good settlement?

MANLY: Yeah. This is an excellent facility for survivors. It’s a defeat for the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, who have spent more than $ 100 million in legal fees to try to defeat these women. I have never been so proud of a group of clients in my life, and I can tell you that every American should be proud of these women for what they have accomplished – not for a legal settlement, but for changing the facing the way we are dealing with sexually abused in this country, especially children.

KELLY: The number, again, $ 380 million comes with Michigan State University’s $ 500 million, so a total of $ 880 million has been allocated to these women. Understanding, of course, that money cannot right the wrongs of the past, is that justice?

MANLY: I think that’s fair in a way. It gives these women, many of whom suffer horrific PTSD daily, some of these women, some of our Olympians, have been assaulted by him over a thousand times. Their whole childhood was Larry Nassar mistreating them day in and day out for months, even at the Olympics. Then yes. But in another sense, no, it’s incomplete justice. You know, the FBI, we knew now – now we’ve known for 17 months that Larry Nassar assaulted McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and Maggie Nichols, who appeared before Congress to testify. And they didn’t do anything. In fact, they did worse than nothing. They actively conspired with the leadership of USA Gymnastics and the USOPC to cover it up. And the Justice Department – both Trump’s Justice Department and Biden’s Justice Department – has done absolutely nothing to hold them accountable.

KELLY: So it looks like there’s more you’d like to see done in terms of the FBI and other law enforcement handling the case – maybe more litigation to come. What about the other development I described – that the board seats are going to go to the survivors of Nassar? It’s a big problem ?

MANLY: It’s huge. And I can tell you, I believe the survivors donated money to get it. You know, I can’t discuss the mediation itself, but it’s my personal belief that it happened. And the reason why this is important is because they basically want to change the culture of money and medals being the only thing that matters because in this way they can protect other women, girls, boys and men of what is happening to them.

KELLY: We only have a few seconds left, but you mentioned that you’ve never been more proud of the survivors than now. You also said that you told ESPN that this is the case that you are most proud of. Why?

MANLY: You know, I have to represent people – you know, I was in the military. And the only way I can describe these women is like I would describe someone who won the Medal of Honor. They competed for our country and they were treated like garbage by the people who were supposed to honor them.

KELLY: Yeah.

MANLY: And as a lawyer, for me to step in and be able to – and my team to represent them and do them justice is just a huge honor. I am so proud of my team.

KELLY: Mr. Manly, thank you.

MANLY: Thank you, ma’am.

KELLY: It’s attorney John Manly. It represents more than 180 of Larry Nassar’s victims.

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