Michigan State University confirms it is settling hundreds of lawsuits filed by survivors of Larry Nasser’s sexual abuse for a half-billion dollars.
According to a press release from MSU, $425-million would be paid to current claimants. Those are the 332 sexual abuse survivors of Nassar.
Another $75-million will be held in reserve for "future claimants alleging sexual abuse" by Nassar.
It will not include confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements.
The release reported that MSU Board of Trustees approved the settlement during a conference call on Tuesday night.
Morgan McCaul is a Nassar survivor and part of the lawsuit.
"I mean it’s bittersweet like everything with any kind of resolution that we’re finding here,” said McCaul. “It’s fantastic to see the first steps toward institutional accountability. It’s disappointing that it took this long though.”
Jamie White is an attorney for more than forty survivors. He said many of his clients still have close ties to the MSU community. He said they’re still trying to sort out their feelings about the university.
“There’s been a real conflict I think with some of them, trying to make sense of how this could happen at a place they’ve dedicated so much of their life to,” said White.
Nassar is in a maximum security prison in Arizona, serving a 60-year federal child pornography sentence.The Michigan Attorney General’s office has an open investigation into MSU. The special prosecutor says that investigation is still ongoing.
He also was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in Ingham County and 40 to 125 years in Eaton County for sexual assaults, those sentences not to begin until after his federal sentence is served.
HISTORY OF THE CASE
Nassar was fired from Michigan State in 2016, two years after he was the subject of a sexual assault investigation. His dismissal came less than a month after former gymnast Rachael Denhollander filed a criminal complaint saying Nassar had sexually assaulted her while treating her for back pain years earlier.
Many victims have said they reported Nassar's abuse to various members of the Michigan State's staff. Campus police got their first report regarding Nassar in 2014, but the Ingham County prosecutor declined to file charges. The school continued to employ him after he was the subject of a sexual assault investigation in 2014. Former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages resigned last year after she was suspended for defending Nassar.
Lou Anna Simon resigned as school president and athletic director Mark Hollis announced his retirement earlier this year as well. The university in February announced the retirement of its longtime vice president for legal affairs, Bob Noto.
The school announced last week that many recommendations in a final Title IX report outlining opportunities to enhance sexual misconduct prevention and education are in development. Interim President John Engler said suggestions to add new staff resources and evaluating ways to review the campus climate have already begun.
Last month at an emotionally charged board of trustees meeting, a sexual assault victim of Nassar alleged Engler pressured her to accept a payoff to settle her lawsuit without her attorney present. Engler later issued a statement, saying his memory and interpretation of the meeting was different and said he was sorry if anything said was misunderstood.