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MSU starts paying $500 million settlement to Nassar survivors

December 4, 2018
Beaumont Tower on July 30, 2018.
Beaumont Tower on July 30, 2018. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

MSU announced today it will begin paying out its $500 million settlement with survivors of ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse.

The settlement of hundreds of lawsuits facing the university was reached in May. A payment of $425 million will be made, with the remaining $75 million to be set aside in a litigation fund, according to a university press release. An independent judge will work to make individual payments to the survivors.

“Making the payment on this settlement is an important step for the university, but it is not the only way MSU is accountable to those harmed,” Engler said in the release. “The entire campus is focused on implementing the improvements we’ve made in health care practices, reporting policies, campus-wide sexual assault education and prevention efforts and trauma-informed responses and treatment for survivors.”

The university will also close the $10 million Healing Assistance Fund, created in December by the MSU Board of Trustees to provide survivors with access to mental health services until a settlement was paid. 

According to a press release, the university will redirect the approximately $8.5 million in unpaid funds to the settlement payment. This reduces the amount the university must borrow for the settlement from $500 million to $491.5 million.

“We felt the Healing Assistance Fund was a way to support the survivors during an incredibly difficult time,” Board Chairman Brian Breslin said in the release. “The fund was intended to be a bridge from the point of creation to when the survivors would receive payments from a settlement with the university. 

“Now that the university has fulfilled its commitment and deposited the settlement funds, we support redirecting the remaining Healing Assistance Fund toward the $500 million lawsuit settlement. We hope survivors who need counseling support continue to seek out appropriate services including the several options available on campus.”The Healing Assistance Fund has been suspended since July because of  concerns of fraud.  The MSU Police Department issued a statement Oct. 19 saying an investigation into the claims would continue for a “lengthy period of time.”

This investigation remains active, according to the press release. Any recoveries from the fraud probe or future recoveries from university insurers will contribute to the university's settlement payments.

The $500 million settlement was announced May 16.

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