Taxpayers Get Half-Billion-Dollar Bill for Nassar's Crimes
Michigan State agrees to a $500 million settlement for the victims of Nassar's sexual abuse.
Following the conviction of former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar on charges of sexually abusing at least 332 girls and young women over 20 years, Michigan State University, where Nassar also worked for years at the on-campus clinic, agreed to pay a legal settlement worth a combined $500 million. John Manly, the attorney for the victims, responded, “This historic settlement came about through the bravery of more than 300 women and girls who had the courage to stand up and refuse to be silenced.” Nassar is currently serving a prison sentence of up to 175 years.
Following the decision, MSU Interim President John Engler, who served as Michigan’s governor from 1993 to 2001, stated in a letter, “The damage done over a period of years by one evil doctor harmed hundreds of girls and young women, including 31 who were MSU students. … Our university has apologized, expressed regret, and pledged to act so that such abuse could never happen again.”
MSU has received particular attention because Nassar committed his crimes while he was employed by the university, though school officials have maintained that they were unaware of the abuse until media reports in 2016. That’s an astounding and, frankly, unbelievable claim. How on earth did no one know when there were more than 300 victims across two decades? That’s 10 times the number assaulted by Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky. Indeed, one of the tragic realizations brought about by the wave of sexual abuse convictions and outings is that so many people surrounding the perpetrators did know, and yet said nothing.
It’s notable that William Strampel, Nassar’s boss and former dean of the university’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, was arrested and charged in March with felony misconduct in office for propositioning and groping medical students. He has pleaded not guilty.
As for MSU’s half-a-billion-dollar financial settlement, some of it will no doubt be covered by the university’s general liability insurance, but the vast majority will likely be footed by the state’s taxpayers and the university’s students and alumni.