Nassar’s victims have now received nearly $1 billion in financial relief. The latest settlement will offer survivors the opportunity to help USA Gymnastics build a restorative justice program, too.
Hundreds of women who were sexually assaulted by former sports physician Larry Nassar have reached a $380 million settlement with USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and each organization’s insurers.
According to The New York Times, Nassar’s victims have received a total of $880 million in compensation, following Michigan State University’s settlement in March 2018.
John Manly, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, passed credit for the settlement to the survivors of sexual abuse, saying they had to “[relive] their abuse publicly, in countless media interviews” to prevent others from being victimized.
Rachel Denhollander, a Nassar survivor who helped negotiate the settlement, suggested that the new round of compensation could help bring closure.
“No amount of money will ever repair the damage that has been done and what these women have been through,” Denhollander said in a statement. “But at some point, the negotiations have to end because these women need help—and they need it right now.”
The New York Times notes that many of the girls and young women abused by Nassar have suffered mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder—some even attempted suicide.
ABC News notes that the agreement includes some non-monetary provisions: USA Gymnastics will, for instance, establish a restorative justice program in collaboration with Nassar’s victims, giving them influence over the organization’s sexual assault reporting procedures.
Li Li Leung, president and chief executive of USA Gymnastics, signaled satisfaction with the settlement and its restorative justice provisions.
“U.S.A. Gymnastics is deeply sorry for the trauma and pain that survivors endured as a result of this organization’s actions and inactions,” Leung said, adding that the reorganization plan reflects the organization’s “accountability to the past and our commitment to the future.”
Manly, however, stressed that—no matter this lawsuit’s particular outcome—sexual abuse cannot and will not be curtailed until enablers are held accountable for their role in facilitating abuse.
“This settlement shows that there was injustice absolutely going on here,” Manly said. “But if you really want to stop people who enable child molesters, you have to start sending people to jail.”
Manly, says The New York Times, observed that the only person who received a jail sentence in the case is Nassar himself.
However, Manly said that other people—including the sports coaches, university officials, and law enforcement officers who did not thoroughly investigate claims of Nassar’s misconduct—should be in prison, too.
Nonetheless, Manly told the Times that he has mixed feelings about the settlement: while he appeared pleased with the amount of compensation victims will receive, he does not understand why it took so long to get some semblance of justice for the victims of Nassar’s abuse.
“For the life of me,” Manly said, “I don’t know why five years had to go by and hundreds of millions of dollars had to be spent on corporate lawyers for us to get to this point.”