Hundreds of women who were abused by former US national gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar will receive $380 million after settling with the US gymnastics team.
And thus ends a five-year legal battle that began in the wake of this massive abuse scandal that has rocked American sports.
Nassar was sentenced to more than 300 years in prison in 2018 for sexually assaulting gymnasts, many of whom were children.
Dozens of athletes, including several Olympic medalists, testified about how Nassar sexually assaulted them.
As part of the agreement, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee will give board seats to some of the survivors.
Rachel Denhalander, the first woman to announce the allegations against Nassar in 2016, welcomed the news, writing on Twitter: “This chapter is finally closed.”
“Now the serious work of reform and reconstruction can begin. That justice is done and there are changes that depend on what happens next.”
The settlement will cover claims made by several Olympic gold medalists, including Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.
In all, Nassar has been accused of sexual assault by more than 330 women and girls from USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
“Courage and perseverance”
A report released in July exposed numerous errors, delays, and cover-ups by FBI agents, allowing Nassar’s abuse to continue for several more months after the case was first opened.
A lawyer representing the victims called Monday’s agreement “historic” but said they would continue to “see justice done” against authorities who did not investigate what was happening.
Attorney John C. Manley praised the women who testified publicly, adding, “We have prevailed for one simple reason, the courage and perseverance of the survivors.”
USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in 2018 as lawsuits against Nassar continued to escalate.
The deal was confirmed during a federal bankruptcy court hearing on Monday.
In a statement after agreeing to the agreement, USA Gymnastics said it “deeply regrets the shock and pain survivors have experienced as a result of this organization’s actions and inaction.”
“On an individual and collective level, survivors have boldly come forward to call for lasting change in the sport. We are committed to working with them, and with the entire gymnastics community, to ensure that we continue to prioritize the safety, health and well-being of our players and the community above all else,” said US Gymnastics President Lee Lee Leung.
In all, up to $880 million in damages has been agreed to for Nassar-related cases, after Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million in 2018.
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