May 17, 2018 Comments Off on Michigan State’s $500 Million for Nassar Victims Dwarfs Other Settlements
Michigan State’s $500 Million for Nassar Victims Dwarfs Other Settlements
By Mitch Smith and Anemona Hartocollis
May 16, 2018
Victims of Lawrence G. Nassar, the Michigan State University physician who sexually abused young women under the guise of medical treatment, would receive $500 million from the university in a settlement that is believed to be the largest ever reached in a sexual abuse case involving an American university.
It dwarfed the size of the settlement reached in the sex abuse scandal at Pennsylvania State University. And it was larger than many of the settlements that followed the child sex abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.
“I think the number being so large sends a message that is undeniable, that something really terrible happened here and that Michigan State owns it,” said John Manly, a lawyer for many of the 332 women who sued the university over abuse by Dr. Nassar. “When you pay half a billion dollars, it’s an admission of responsibility.”
Women who say they were abused by Dr. Nassar still have lawsuits against U.S.A. Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee and others, and the settlement with Michigan State could add pressure in those cases. The settlement by Michigan State, a public university that is the state’s largest, also sent a loud warning to other colleges about the potentially devastating cost of ignoring misconduct.
The agreement comes as officials at the University of Southern California are under fire for failing to report a gynecologist who faced allegations of misconduct for decades, and as other colleges find themselves grappling with a growing number of sexual abuse and assault complaints over the last few years. By late Wednesday, officials at U.S.C. said they had received about 85 complaints about George Tyndall, the gynecologist….
Many women said the university enabled Dr. Nassar’s abuse and for years ignored those who came forward with complaints, and top leaders at Michigan State have lost their jobs over the matter, including Lou Anna K. Simon, the president. Michigan’s attorney general is overseeing a criminal investigation into how Dr. Nassar had been permitted to operate at the university for as long as he did. The federal Education Department is investigating the university’s actions. And the F.B.I. is conducting an internal review of what its agents knew about Dr. Nassar’s conduct and when they knew it, Christopher A. Wray, the agency’s director, told Congress on Wednesday.
The settlement was approved by the university’s elected trustees in a conference call on Tuesday night, but final details still had to be handled.
For the women, some of whom shared their stories of abuse in emotional testimony before judges who sentenced Dr. Nassar to more than 100 years in prison, the financial settlement was a step toward healing, but not a fix for systemic failings at Michigan State…..
For about 20 years, Dr. Nassar preyed on young women who came to him for medical care at a Michigan State clinic. When some patients claimed abuse, Dr. Nassar insisted he was performing legitimate medical treatment, and university officials allowed him to continue seeing patients…