USA Gymnastics offers sexual assault survivors $215 million settlement

After decades of abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics has offered a settlement to hundreds of survivors.
After decades of abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics has offered a settlement to hundreds of survivors. (AP/Carlos Osorio)

In a bankruptcy plan filed this week, USA Gymnastics has offered a $215 million settlement for sexual assault survivors stemming from former team doctor Larry Nassar’s decades of abuse, according to the Associated Press.

USA Gymnastics, which filed for bankruptcy in December 2018 and has been in mediation with survivors ever since, said the $215 million was the amount that insurance carriers were willing to provide them, per the report.

Nassar, the former national team doctor, was effectively handed a life sentence in 2018 after he sexually assaulted more than 150 women and girls over several decades. Michigan State, where Nassar also served as a team doctor, has since paid $500 million to more than 300 survivors. The university was also fined a record $4.5 million for its handling of the case, and saw several top officials resign in the wake of the scandal.

In order for the offer to be accepted, a majority of defendants must vote to approve it. Then, that majority must represent at least two-thirds of the monetary value of the settlement, per the Associated Press. The settlement reportedly doesn’t include any money from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee despite the USOPC being named in several of the lawsuits.

While they have made the initial offer, USA Gymnastics president Li Li Leung said they hope to “work toward a true consensual settlement.”

“Our hope is that discussions will continue and more money will be [available],” Leung said, via the Associated Press. “It’s not capped at $215 [million].”

Should the offer be accepted, per the report, the money would be placed into a trust and then distributed by a trustee, who would be told by a judge how to allocate the money.

John Manly, the attorney representing 200 survivors, slammed both USA Gymnastics and the USOPC for what he called “blatant disregard” of the victims. The settlement, he said, doesn’t do enough to protect from future abuse.

“This proposed plan does not include the critical structural changes necessary to ensure the safety of girls moving forward, nor does it appropriately address the myriad physical and emotional challenges the victims face as a result of these crimes,” Manly said in a statement, via the Associated Press. “Most disturbingly, this proposed plan attempts to absolve USOPC of any responsibility for these crimes which were committed under its watch. This plan from USAG is not just unworkable, it is unconscionable.”

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