For Larry Nassar’s abuse victims, a $380 million settlement doesn’t just mark the end of a five-year legal battle.
It’ll also provide much-needed resources toward the recovery of survivors, former Olympic gymnast Tasha Schwikert said.
“With a resolution, as survivors, we feel heard. And we feel acknowledged,” said Schwikert, a 2000 Olympian who helped negotiate the settlement with USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and their insurers.
“So many survivors deal with severe mental illness and substance abuse and trauma. That settlement will help pay for mental health services and related needs for survivors going forward in their lives.”
Nassar, the longtime doctor for the USA Gymnastics team and Michigan State University, is serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on child pornography charges.
He also was sentenced to a 40-to-175 year state prison sentence in Michigan after pleading guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Some former athletes said that they had reported the abuse previously but that the systems of authority, including USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Michigan State University, did not take their concerns seriously.
The $380 million settlement, announced Monday, “will compensate more than 500 gymnasts — the majority of them abused by Larry Nassar and who endured horrific abuse for years,” Schwikert told CNN on Tuesday.
“While I’m glad that we’ve settled the case and we can move on to the next chapter of our lives, there’s still a lot of work to do to make sure the non-monetary requests are implemented appropriately.”
USAG says it is ‘deeply sorry for the trauma’
The settlement is part of the USAG’s plan to exit bankruptcy as the organization has struggled to recover from the Nassar scandal.
It includes non-monetary commitments focused on athlete safety and wellness, USAG said in a statement Monday.
“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 statement.
“The Plan of Reorganization that we jointly filed reflects our own accountability to the past and our commitment to the future.
“Individually and collectively, Survivors have stepped forward with bravery to advocate for enduring change in this 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 wellness of our athletes and community above all else.”
Who will pay the settlement
The majority of the settlement will be paid by insurers, but the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee will pay around $34.4 million and will loan around $6.1 million to USA Gymnastics to pay its portion of the settlement, court documents state.
This is the second nine-figure settlement for victims of Nassar’s abuse. In 2018, Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million to settle lawsuits brought by 332 victims of Nassar.
As part of a plea deal, he admitted to using his trusted medical position to assault and molest girls under the guise of medical treatment for about two decades.
The Justice Department’s inspector general released a scathing report in July saying that senior officials in the FBI Indianapolis field office failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency, made numerous and fundamental errors when they did respond and violated multiple FBI policies when undertaking their investigative activity.
Settlement allows a Nassar abuse survivor to sit on USA Gymnastics’ Board of Directors
The $380 million settlement also includes a provision to dedicate at least one seat on the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors to a survivor of Nassar’s sexual abuse, according to court documents.
Additionally, at least one member of the organization’s two committees dedicated to safe sports and athlete wellness will be reserved for a Nassar abuse survivor. A process to select individuals to fill these positions is still being worked on, but USA Gymnastics has committed to the provisions, the documents state.
The nonmonetary terms of the settlement also include reforms to the organization’s training and practices regarding athlete safety and proper reporting of misconduct.
Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse, tweeted Monday that she is “proud of the nonmonetary reform commitments in particular” and said she is “eager to see these changes through.”
“This chapter has closed,” she said, “but the real work of restoration is just beginning.”
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.