Saturday, September 26, 2020

MSU to settle Nassar survivor lawsuits

May 16, 2018
Larry Nassar listens to a victim impact statement during the first day of his sentencing on Jan. 31, 2018, in the Eaton County courtroom. Nassar faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County.
Larry Nassar listens to a victim impact statement during the first day of his sentencing on Jan. 31, 2018, in the Eaton County courtroom. Nassar faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County. —
Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

MSU plans to settle the hundreds of lawsuits filed against the university by survivors of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse, according to a report done by the Detroit Free Press.

The lawsuit settlement will cost MSU at least $500 million, with $425 million being paid now and $75 million being reserved, according to the Free Press. 

The lawsuit settlement was announced formally on Wednesday after two days of closed-door mediation sessions between the survivors' lawyers and the university's lawyers. 

Interim President John Engler has previously said that the money needed for settling the lawsuits filed against the university could impact tuition, but after a meeting with the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, he told The State News tuition might not be affected by the litigation. 

Survivor attorney John Manly said in a press release, "It is the sincere hope of all of the survivors that the legacy of this settlement will be far reaching institutional reform that will end the threat of sexual assault in sports, schools and throughout our society."

Attorney James White, who has also represented the survivors of Nassar’s sexual abuse, said the settlement of the lawsuits is a step in the right direction for both the survivors and MSU.

“I think that it not only provides compensation to them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but I think it also sent an important message from the university that they are prepared to accept responsibility for their role in what’s occurred,” White said. 

White said many of the survivors and himself are encouraged that MSU will take this experience as an opportunity to set an example as an institution.  

“I just think it’s important for Michigan State University to not allow itself to be defined by this incident and for our current leader and future leader to step up and use this as an opportunity to educate others and be a leader in our national efforts to protect children,” he said. 

The MSU Board of Trustees issued a statement saying, "We are truly sorry to all the survivors and their families for what they have been through, and we admire the courage it has taken to tell their stories.

"We recognize the need for change on our campus and in our community around sexual assault awareness and prevention. A successful resolution to the litigation is a positive step in moving us all forward.  We will continue working as a Board to address the necessary changes and improvements that are needed at our university."

Robert Young, special counsel to MSU said in a statement, "Michigan State is pleased that we have been able to agree in principle on a settlement that is fair to the survivors of Nassar's crimes. 

"We appreciate the hard work both sides put into the mediation, and the efforts of the mediator, which achieved a result that is responsible and equitable.”

Stay with The State News for further updates to this story. 

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