Nassar abuse survivors reach $380 million settlement with USA Gymnastics

·3 min read

USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have agreed to a $380 million payout to settle the lawsuit between them and the 500-plus survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar and others affiliated with USA Gymnastics.

An Indianapolis federal bankruptcy court confirmed the settlement on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The settlement was originally revealed during a USAG bankruptcy hearing.

Exact settlement details not yet known

The settlement, one of the largest ever awarded to sexual abuse victims, marks the end of a five-year legal battle that pit many of the 500-plus victims against USAG. More than 300 of them were abused by Nassar, who served as USAG's national team doctor for years. Numerous survivors were in mediation with USAG, trying to receive money to pay for costly mental health treatment they need due to the sexual abuse they endured — abuse that happened on their watch.

Investigations conducted during the suit revealed that USAG had known about complaints from victims for years but declined to act on them, and when an internal investigation finally took place, complaints from gymnasts like Simone Biles were ignored. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (then operating as the US Olympic Committee) also knew about several Nassar sexual abuse complaints early on and also ignored them.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the survivors approved the settlement in August, but it was not fully funded — at least one insurer and the USOPC pushed back on the amount they were to pay into the settlement. Both parties recently came to terms on their monetary contributions to the settlement, allowing the process to move forward.

The specific details of the settlement are not known, so it's unclear how the $380 million will be divided. Part of that money will also be used to settle accounts with USAG's creditors, which will help bring it out of bankruptcy. Additionally, the settlement requires the USOPC to end its effort to decertify USAG as the national governing body for gymnastics, a process that was started several years ago when Nassar's abuse came to light.

There are several non-monetary reforms in the settlement as well. According to USA Today, a permanent spot on USAG's board has been reserved for a survivor of gymnastics-related abuse, whether that's Nassar or other abusive coaches. USAG will also require local clubs to put up posters with information about how to recognize and report sexual abuse. At every USAG club in the country, anyone who has contact with minors will be required to undergo Safe Sport training.

First gymnast to accuse Nassar speaks out

Former gymnast Rachel Denhollander, the first woman to come forward and publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse, tweeted that she's especially proud of the non-monetary reforms in the settlement, since she knows the hard work that went into getting them done. However, she also said that the future of USAG and those reforms depend on the people involved, and she hopes that the USOPC and USAG will work with survivors going forward.