USA Gymnastics' proposal to sexual assault survivors ranges from $83K to $1.25M

USA Gymnastics has proposed a tiered system to pay settlements to survivors of sexual assault by former national team doctor Larry Nassar, with amounts ranging from $82,550 to $1.25 million.

The payment structure was part of a legal filing Friday that offered more details on the proposed $215 million settlement that USA Gymnastics' insurance carriers are willing to provide to end years of legal battles, though attorneys representing hundreds of Nassar survivors have indicated that the proposal is insufficient.

In a disclosure statement filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, 517 survivors of abuse by Nassar or other coaches or trainers would be paid the following amounts:

  • Women who were sexually abused by Nassar at the Olympics, world championships, national team training camps or other national team events: $1,250,757.
  • Non-elite gymnasts sexually abused at USA Gymnastics-sanctioned events: $508,670
  • Gymnasts abused at non-USA Gymnastics locations: $174,401
  • Individuals with "derivative claims": $82,550.
  • Simone Biles and several members of the 2012 Olympic gold-medal-winning team would be among 66 survivors who were abused at the Olympics, other major competitions or national team training camps that would receive the top settlement offer.

    By agreeing to the settlement, the survivors would release a number of groups and people -- including the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny and former national team directors Bela and Martha Karolyi -- from further claims.

    The proposed payments are part of ongoing legal proceedings for U.S. Gymnastics, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2018. The bankruptcy filing followed hundreds of lawsuits against the organization for allegations of a culture of abuse, including Nassar's sexual assaults.

    According to the USA Gymnastics filing, the survivors have until May 8 to approve the proposed settlement. If the survivors vote to accept the settlement, insurers for Twistars USA Gymnastics, the gym near Lansing, Michigan, once owned by 2012 Olympic coach John Geddert, would agree to contribute an additional $2.125 million to the $215 million offer. USAG also noted in its filing that nearly $11 million would be kept for future claims.

    If the settlement is rejected, survivors could continue to pursue lawsuits after the USAG completes its bankruptcy proceedings, with hope of an exit plan of some kind being approved ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which begin in July.

    Irvine, California, attorney John Manly, who represents more than 180 clients with active claims against USAG, said in January that the settlement offer was "dead on arrival," in part because it would clear the USOPC of further action. He went on to criticize the tiered plan in comments to the Orange County Register on Friday.

    "Let's be clear for parents considering putting your child in a gym sanctioned by USA Gymnastics. What USA Gymnastics is saying: If we place a known pedophile in that gym and that individual rapes your child, then your child is worth $82,000," Manly told the Register. "My client Rachael Denhollander asked what is a little girl worth. Apparently if you're raped by the national team doctor, you're worth $82,000 to USA Gymnastics.

    "This is the most disgusting, reprehensible, vile view of children I can imagine."

    Manly also told ESPN's John Barr that the proposal showed that the USOPC and USA Gymnastics have become "morally bankrupt."

    "Their plan allows all of Nassar's many protectors -- [former USAG CEO] Steve Penny, Marta Karolyi, [former USOPC CEO] Scott Blackmun and others -- to escape justice completely and pay nothing," Manly told ESPN. "Even more incredibly, the USOPC pays zero to America's Olympian victims and gets a complete discharge from liability.

    "Blackmun, Penny and other Olympic officials knew Larry Nassar was molesting little girls. They let him continue to molest for over a year to avoid a scandal." 

    Attorney Mick Grewal, whose firm represents more than 160 Nassar survivors, called Friday's court filing "inadequate" and a "non-starter."

    "There has to be some discovery in order for an informed decision to be made," Grewal told ESPN on Saturday. "With this discovery statement, it primarily deals with USAG's assets. There's nothing in here that relates to the USOPC. The only way our clients are going to get any sort of justice is for us to get some form of discovery."

    Grewal said he is also troubled by the continued insistence of the USOPC to be discharged from the case.

    "[The USOPC is] trying to get out of this without providing any information, without any transparency and without any accountability," Grewal said. "Their failure to provide adequate information is going to continue to further traumatize our clients."

    Nassar is serving a 60-year federal prison sentence for child pornography charges. He has also received multiple sentences of over 100 years in the state of Michigan for his sexual assaults.

    In May 2018, Michigan State agreed to pay $500 million to 333 survivors of Nassar abuse.