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USA Gymnastics, hundreds of sex abuse survivors reach $380M deal in Nassar case

The settlement forces reforms on USA Gymnastics designed to prevent future abuse.
/ Source: NBC News

USA Gymnastics says it has reached a $380 million settlement with the sexual abuse survivors of former national team doctor and convicted sex offender Larry Nassar.

The settlement is part of a bankruptcy reorganization plan confirmed by a U.S. bankruptcy court in Indiana a Monday, debtors’ administrators for USA Gymnastics said in a statement. A survivors’ committee approved the plan, they said.

The settlement orders USA Gymnastics to implement policies and processes designed to protect athletes against abuse, including having at least one survivor on the organization’s board.

“USA Gymnastics is deeply sorry for the trauma and pain that survivors have endured as a result of this organization’s actions and inactions,” USAG President and CEO Li Li Leung said in the administrators’ statement Monday.

“Individually and collectively, survivors have stepped forward with bravery to advocate for enduring change in this sport,” he added.

In 2017 Nassar, 58, who is accused of molesting hundreds of former patientspleaded guilty in a Michigan court to sexually abusing 10 minors. He’s serving a virtual life sentence, technically up to 175 years in prison.

USA Gymnastics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization Dec. 5 “to pave the way toward a settlement with survivors,” administrators said.

Survivors voted “overwhelmingly” to approve the deal late last month, they said. More than 90 percent of the more than 500 victims voted yes to a tentative settlement in September.

That month, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee the federal government failed to provide necessary oversight of an organization created by Congress.

“I don’t want another young gymnast, or Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse,” she said.

Nassar was based in Michigan and also worked for Michigan State University in Lansing.

USA Gymnastics first brought allegations of his sexual abuse to authorities in 2015. The FBI was criticized in a Justice Department report this year for allegedly moving slowly and making missteps as it investigated.

This summer, survivors and USA Gymnastics proposed a $425 million settlement, but that was contingent on insurers’ approval.

A trust fund for survivors will be covered by insurers, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, the administrators said.

Kathryn Carson, USA Gymnastics’ board chair, said in the administrators’ statement that survivors have “used their voices to elicit meaningful change and restructuring within USA Gymnastics, and their impact extends far beyond our sport.”