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More than 100 new Nassar survivors come forward, upcoming deadline to file claims

September 5, 2018
<p>Larry Nassar listens to Judge Cunningham on the third day of sentencing for Larry Nassar on Feb. 5, 2018 in the Eaton County courtroom. Nassar faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County.</p>

Larry Nassar listens to Judge Cunningham on the third day of sentencing for Larry Nassar on Feb. 5, 2018 in the Eaton County courtroom. Nassar faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County.

More than 100 new victims of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse have come forward and the deadline to file claims is on Sept. 10, according to a press release.

The MSU Healing Assistance Fund was established to provide survivors with resources needed for healing through counseling and mental health services. 

In late July, MSU Spokesperson Emily Guerrant said in a press release that the university decided to suspend further payments to the MSU Healing Assistance Fund in light of an investigation into fraudulent claims.

"Due to an investigation into fraudulent claims made to the Healing Assistance Fund, the university is suspending payments until the investigation is complete," the Healing Assistance Fund website said. 

More survivors have come forward since the $500 million settlement between MSU and the survivors of Nassar's abuse who sued the university in light of their handling of reports against him.

According to the press release and the Nassarsurvivors.com website, the deadline for sexual assault victims to come forward and file claims for compensation from this fund is Sept. 10. 

Knowing that the typical statute of limitations of three years would keep some women for coming forward, lawmakers passed Public Act 183 on June 12. This statute allows the women whose claims predate the statute of limitations to not have to worry about that argument being made against them in court. This statute is only in affect for 90 days, which is where the Sept. 10 deadline comes into play. 

"Because MSU has made it clear that they intend to seriously look at these cases and get them resolved, that's another motivation for someone who's afraid to come forward to know that if they make this deadline they will be included in that consideration," Attorney Megan Bonanni said.

So far, $425 million of the fund has compensated the first group of 333 Nassar survivors. For additional victims, including the the over 100 women who recently came forward, the remaining $75 million will be used to pay their claims. 

"The $500 million settlement was reached very quickly," said Bonanni in the press release. 

Bonanni and Attorney Michael Pitt are representing 15 of the new victims. 

"Many of Dr. Nassar's victims hadn't come forward when it was announced, as they were still dealing with the confusion, trauma and shame commonly experienced by victims or sexual assault," Bonanni said. "For many of them, stepping forward to make a claim is another difficult and emotional experience."

Bonanni said PA 183 being in affect allows women to feel comfortable coming forward, knowing that they wont be subject to rigorous litigation demands.

Nassarsurvivors.com, a source of information and legal options for victims that have yet to come forward, was created by Bonanni, Pitt and other law firms. 

According to the press release, there is likely to be legal challenges to their claims for compensation for Nassar victims who come forward after the Sept. 10 deadline.  

"'New' Nassar survivors are strongly encouraged to pursue their claims prior to September 10, 2018, in order to share in the currently designated funds regardless of the time of assault," Nassarsurvivors.com said. 


Editor's note: this story was updated at 10:16 a.m. to include information from Nassarsurvivors.com and to clarify the suspension of payments to the MSU Healing Assistance Fund. 

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