A settlement has been reached between the 500-plus survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse and USA Gymnastics as well as the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. The survivors will receive $380 million in total. Most of the money will come from the insurers of USA Gymnastics and the USOPC, per the New York Times.
Much of that money for the survivors will be used to help offset the cost of treatment that was needed to help heal the wounds left by Nassar. With a list of victims 500-plus people long, not all of those abused by Nassar made the Olympic team or signed lucrative endorsement deals. Therefore, most of the people who Nassar abused needed this lawsuit to help finish covering the cost of all that healthcare — but it doesn’t make the more famous members of the team any less deserving of settlement money. The abuse happened on the watch of USA Gymnastics and the USOPC. None of these athletes should have to pay a penny for the treatment necessary to help them heal.
Nassar pleaded guilty in 2017 to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. Allegations of the former USA Gymnastics team doctor first became public in a 2016 Indianapolis Star report. A gymnast filed a suit in California against Nassar for sexually abusing her during medical treatments, and against USA Gymnastics for not acting on suspicions of his abusive conduct. Also in that report was Rachel Delhollander, who filed criminal charges against Nassar. At the disgraced doctor’s criminal trial, 150 women and girls testified that he sexually abused them.
He was abusive working at Michigan State as well. The university agreed to pay out $500 million to survivors due to its failure to properly respond to suspicions of Nassar’s abuse while employed by the school. Of that sum, $425 million was paid out to current survivors and $75 million was to be held in case more came forward.
That’s nearly $1 billion in settlement money spent between these three prominent organizations because they chose to protect a predator rather than the people who these institutions were entrusted to care for.
Neither this money nor Nassar’s sentence is enough to mute whatever pain these hundreds of people are dealing with as a result of his predatory behavior. Abusing children is always despicable, but when someone whose job it is to physically take care of them takes advantage of that role — someone whom parents trust to place hands on various parts of their children’s bodies — that’s an even different level of monster.
And it’s a monster that possibly could’ve been stopped years ago, but no one made it a priority. Now the lives of hundreds of girls were changed forever, and their reward is a slice of this $880 million settlement pie and the pain of reliving what happened every time they deal with that settlement, and every time they hear Nassar, or USA Gymnastics, or Michigan State.