Larry Nassar: Abuse victims of gymnastics doctor to receive $380m settlement

Hundreds of girls and women have said Larry Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment. Credit: AP

Hundreds of women abused by former US national gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar are to receive $380 million (£287 million) after a five-year legal battle.

Nassar is serving decades in prison after hundreds of women and girls said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment when he worked for Michigan State and Indiana-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

The settlement, which was confirmed during a hearing in a federal bankruptcy court in Indianapolis on Monday, was reached between the more than 500 victims and USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee and their insurers.

It will cover claims brought by hundreds of women, including Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

US Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing in 2021. Credit: AP

In September, Biles, a five-time world champion, gave a powerful address to the Senate Judiciary Committee in which she told of how gymnastics officials turned a "blind eye" to the sexual abuse she and others suffered at the hands of Nassar.

In total, he was accused of sexual abuse by more than 330 women and girls at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. A report into an FBI investigation, published in July, found missteps, delays and cover-ups by FBI agents allowed his abuse to continue for several more months after the case was first opened.

Nassar pleaded guilty in federal court to child pornography crimes before pleading guilty in state court to sexually assaulting female gymnasts.

He was sentenced in 2018 to 40 to 175 years in prison.

'I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse' - Simone Biles gives evidence to the Senate Judiciary Committee

As part of the settlement- which is among the largest ever for a sexual abuse case - USA Gymnastics and the Olympic Committee will give board seats to survivors.

Welcoming the news, Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to go public with allegations against Nassar in 2016, wrote on Twitter: "This chapter is finally closed."

“It’s not about money, it’s about change,” she told The Associated Press.

“It’s about an accurate assessment of what went wrong so that it is safer for the next generation.”

USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in December 2018 in an effort to consolidate the various lawsuits filed against it.

“Individually and collectively, survivors have stepped forward with bravery to advocate for enduring change in this sport,” USA Gymnastics president Li Li Leung said in a statement after the settlement was approved.

“We are committed to working with them, and with the entire gymnastics community, to ensure that we continue to prioritise the safety, health and wellness of our athletes and community above all else.”