Michigan State Settles with Larry Nassar Survivors for $500 Million

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The trustees of Michigan State University have agreed to settle sexual abuse lawsuits concerning Dr. Larry Nassar for $500 million.  The settlement will pay $425 million to the 332 girls and women who have come forward to date, averaging about $1.28 million per victim. Michigan State will set aside an additional $75 million in a trust fund for any victims who come forward in the future.

The proactive measure stands in stark contrast to the decades of denial and possible cover-up of Nassar’s behavior when he worked as a physician on Michigan State University’s campus.  The NY Times said the MSU settlement dwarfs other abuse settlements while the Washington Post opined that the settlement and the entire Nassar saga has had a significant impact on the university.

“The impact of the scandal on the university, which has about 39,000 undergraduate students, has been substantial, including the resignations of President Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis in January, and may extend beyond the financial. The settlement surpasses the more than $109 million paid by Penn State University to settle claims by at least 35 people who accused assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse.”

The settlement applies to only Michigan State. The U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, and famed former Olympic coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi all still face lawsuits filed by Nassar victims, who include Olympians Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas.

The settlement negotiated through mediation is not only significant because of the amount paid to survivors but the additional $75 million placed into a trust fund to cover future payments for any survivors who have yet to come forward.  In so doing, the university acknowledged that Nassar may have abused more young women and is prepared to deal with that fact.  Since Nassar admitted that he used his position and authority to gain access to unsuspecting young athletes for decades, there very well may be more women victimized by Nassar at Michigan State University.


Photo Credit via Wikimedia Commons

Larry Nassar’s Former Boss Linked to Sex Abuse Allegations

By LauraKP1 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

The former dean of Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, William Strampel, allegedly paid pay medical students up to $100-an-hour for nude modeling sessions and invasive practice exams — which included breast and pelvic inspections, according to prosecutors.

Strampel has already been accused of sexually abusing athletes in similar fashion as Dr. Larry Nassar, the convicted head physician of USA Gymnastics.  Strampel was arrested in late March and charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Prosecutors say they want to call on the former students as witnesses at Strampel’s preliminary hearing in June. In their motion, they describe how the pair met the ex-dean and eventually agreed to take part in nude medical exams in exchange for cash.

One was a Central Michigan University student, the other an MSU hopeful who had applied to the college of medicine, but didn’t have high enough test scores to get in.

The two of them were forced to endure dozens of nude exams, some behind closed doors and others in front of medical students. There were breast inspections and pelvic examinations, which included vaginal and anal penetration.

The lead prosecutor in the Nassar case said he discovered the information about the nude modeling as he was investigating the Nassar crimes.

In addition to the molestation charges, Strampel is also facing charges of official misconduct and willful neglect of duty. Prosecutors claim he failed to enforce protocols put in place to protect a female patient from Nassar in 2014 — after she came forward and accused the doctor of misconduct.

The relationship between the boss and subordinate make it clearer how Larry Nassar was able to continue to molest athletes for years without his crimes becoming known or investigated.  Nassar’s immediate supervisor was engaged in the same criminal behavior and grooming processes and had a vested interest in concealing Nassar’s behavior.

A number of top officials at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics have resigned or been fired from their posts as a result of the school’s sex abuse scandal.


Detroit Skyline Image: Alex Brisbey

USA Gymnasts Accuse Doctor of Sexual Abuse


When the Indianapolis Star published their investigation on the sexual abuse of USA gymnasts, the findings focused on the coaches.  Published just prior to the commencement of the Summer Olympics in Brazil, the allegations received widespread media attention.

Now, the Indianapolis Star has published a new story of sexual abuse.  This time the alleged perpetrator is Dr. Larry Nassar, who is accused of fondling the two gymnasts’ breasts and genitalia during examinations.  Nassar left USA Gymnastics last year after serving as the team physician during four Olympic games.  

According to the Daily Beast, “One gymnast, an Olympic medalist, filed a lawsuit in a California state court  that was made public on Monday. The other gymnast, Rachael Denhollander, filed a police complaint with Michigan State University police in August. Nassar is a faculty member there.

According to the California suit, the unnamed medalist, “Jane JD Doe,” claims that USA Gymnastics allowed Nassar to examine her in complete privacy, in clear violation of the organization’s standard of conduct. The other woman, Rachael Denhollander, spoke on the record to the newspaper, and appears in a lengthy video.

In it, Denhollander says that she sought treatment for back and wrist injuries from Nassar when she was a 15-year-old club-level gymnast in 2000, and claims that he became increasingly abusive during each session. In Denhollander’s account, Nassar unhooked her bra and fondled her breasts, and began “massaging internally,” penetrating her vagina and anus with his finger and thumb, she said. “He never wore gloves,” Denhollander said in the video.”

As in most sexual abuse cases involving minors, further investigation uncovers more abuse and more perpetrators.  While all the facts are not available yet, it appears likely that USA Gymnastics’ abuse saga is systemic and culpability includes an institution that failed to protect vulnerable children.