Nassar Settlement Includes Dropping Reforms

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Victims of Larry Nassar agreed to give up some of their efforts to strengthen Michigan’s laws on sexual abuse complaints as part of a $500 million settlement with Michigan State University, the Detroit News reports. Vince Finaldi, a lawyer for victims, said the settlement requires victims to pull their support for proposed legislation that seeks to end governmental immunity as it relates to sexual abuse. That is a shield MSU has maintained as being vital to protect itself from litigation. Even without the governmental immunity provision that is part of statute of limitations bills, the settlement provides for the victims and the goals they hoped to accomplish in filing their lawsuits, he said.

“You have to look at what the overall benefit is in terms of what you are trying to achieve,” Finaldi said. “Our goals have always been to shine a light on what happened, to shine a light on policies and procedures to make sure this never happens again in the future.” A source close to the university said that the deal is contingent on Michigan lawmakers dropping the legislative package. Some Nassar victims remained steadfast that they continue to support the package of bills that would extend protections. The university must grapple with how to afford the settlement it announced Wednesday with the 332 women and girls who say they were sexually assaulted by the disgraced MSU sports doctor. The university will use a combination of insurance money, bonding and uncommitted funds — including delaying building projects and hiring faculty — to pay out the settlement. It’s exploring tightening budgets and possibly raising tuition.

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