Michigan State University has agreed to pay a landmark $500 million USD settlement to the hundreds of sexual abuse victims of disgraced university physician Larry Nassar.
To date, more than 300 women and girls have said were assaulted by the sports doctor under the guise of medical treatment. The school will pay out $425 million to the claimants and set aside $75 million in a trust fund for any future women who come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against the former doctor. The settlement equates to about $667 million AUD.
"I think the number being so large sends a message that is undeniable, that something really terrible happened here and that Michigan State owns it,” lawyer, John Manly, who represented many of the 332 victims, told The New York Times.
“When you pay half a billion dollars, it’s an admission of responsibility.”
During that time, Nassar treated young gymnasts and campus athletes, with complaints against the doctor spanning back to the late 1990s. Many women said the university had ignored complaints against the doctor and enabled the abuse to go on for years.
"We are truly sorry to all the survivors and their families for what they have been through, and we admire the courage it has taken to tell their stories," Brian Breslin, chairman of Michigan State's governing board said.
"We recognize the need for change on our campus and in our community around sexual assault awareness and prevention."
Nassar is serving three prison sentences after pleading guilty to molesting women and girls, and being caught with child pornography.