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University reaches $500 mn settlement with Nassar abuse victims

© GETTY IMAGES/AFP/File | Larry Nassar was sentenced in January 2018 to spend his life behind bars after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting women and girls over a two-decade period under the guise of medical treatment

CHICAGO (AFP) - 

The Michigan university where serial sex abuser Larry Nassar practiced medicine announced Wednesday it has agreed to a $500 million settlement with hundreds of former victims of the USA Gymnastics doctor.

The agreement with attorneys representing 332 survivors was a "global settlement," Michigan State University said, and resolved claims against individuals that were employed by the faculty and implicated in the wide-ranging scandal.

It did not resolve claims against USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, star gymnastics coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi, and others.

Neither did it end a criminal probe of the university's actions with regard to Nassar's behavior.

Nassar was sentenced in January to spend his life behind bars after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting women and girls over a two-decade period under the guise of medical treatment.

"It is the sincere hope of all of the survivors that the legacy of this settlement will be far reaching institutional reform that will end the threat of sexual assault in sports, schools and throughout our society," attorney John Manly, who represents many of the victims, said in a statement.

The scandal is the biggest in US Olympic history and has had far-reaching ripple effects -- ending careers at USA Gymnastics, the Olympic committee and at Michigan State University.

The criminal investigation into the university's role is being conducted by special counsel Bill Forsyth, on behalf of the Midwestern state's top law enforcement office.

"It is very important to see resolution on the civil side, and I hope this provides some sense of relief and closure for the survivors. That being said, my investigation is still open and ongoing," Forsyth said in a statement.

The criminal inquiry has yielded criminal charges against William Strampel, the former dean of the medical college where Nassar practiced medicine.

Strampel faces several charges, including criminal sexual conduct and willful neglect of duty.

© 2018 AFP