By Zac Cornell
After a five-year legal battle, USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and their insurers have reached a $380 million settlement with the more than 300 survivors of sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Some of the high profile survivors among the settlement are Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Rachael Denhollander. As one of the largest settlements ever for sexual abuse, it also covers 200 survivors of abuse by others that are connected to USA Gymnastics.
In addition to the financial settlement, USA Gymnastics is also setting up a restorative justice program, which among other things, ensures that at least one survivor will always serve on the board of USA Gymnastics.
Restorative justice and future prevention was especially important to Denhollander, the first person to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault, which ultimately led to the discovery of Nassar’s massive sexual abuse and his 2018 sentencing of up to 175 years in prison. After the announcement of the settlement with USA Gymnastics, Denhollander tweeted, “This chapter is finally closed. Now the hard work of reform and rebuilding can begin. Whether or not justice comes, and change is made, depends on what happens next.”
Mick Grewal, an attorney for dozens of survivors, said of the restorative justice component, “It will be the gold standard for every institution that has a sexual assault problem.”
Hopefully this horrible experience will pave the way for a safer future.