USA Gymnastics (USAG) and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) have agreed to a $380 million settlement with victims of former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar. The agreement also stipulates both organizations must make significant reforms to prevent future abuse.
"These powerful institutions enabled Dr. Nassar to thrive and avoid discovery of his crimes," Tasha Schwikert-Warren, a former Olympian and a victim of Nassar's, said Monday in a statement announcing the settlement. "I am proud of my survivor sisters who showed their strength and stepped up to make this settlement possible. What makes me hopeful this will never happen again is the commitment by USAG and USOPC for institutional reform in the bankruptcy plan."
Nassar — who, in addition to being the team doctor for USAG, also formerly worked as a doctor at Michigan State University, a local gymnastics club and a high school — abused hundreds of female athletes over several decades under the guise of medical treatment. He is currently serving over 100 years in prison afterto multiple child pornography and sexual abuse charges.
As litigation related to Nassar's abuse began piling up in 2018, USAGfor bankruptcy. Attorney John Manly, whose law firm represents over 100 Nassar victims, called the move "a delay tactic," but the organization claimed it was needed to help resolve the victims' claims. The organization will exit bankruptcy in the next few weeks and continue their plan to institute reforms, according to Monday's release.
"This historic settlement ends another chapter in the Larry Nassar scandal," Manly said Monday. "Survivors have now received a total of $880 million in compensation for their pain and suffering at the hands of this monster and the institutions who enabled him, Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee."
"These organizations spent more than $100 million on corporate lawyers to evade their legal and moral responsibility," Manly added. "We prevailed for one simple reason, the courage and tenacity of the survivors. These brave women relived their abuse publicly, in countless media interviews, so that not one more child will be forced to suffer physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in pursuit of their dreams."
In September, survivors of Nassar's abuse testified before the Senate after an investigation from the Department of Justicethe FBI made numerous missteps in its handling of the Nassar investigation. According to a report from the Justice Departmen'ts inspector general, the bureau failed to open an investigation into Nassar's suspected crimes for months after they were first reported, allowing between 70 to 120 girls to be abused during that time.
"It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter," former Olympian Aly Raisman.
Olympic medalist Simone Biles also said she was a victim of Nassar's abuse, blaming the organizations for not prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of the girls under their charge.
"I believe without a doubt that the circumstances that led to my abuse and allowed it to continue are directly the result of the fact that the organizations created by Congress to oversee and protect me as an athlete, USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committees failed to do their jobs," Biles said.
"The scars of this horrific abuse continue to live with all of us," she added. "The impacts of this man's abuse are not ever over or forgotten."
for more features.