Fallout, investigations underway in Nassar scandal

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan State University’s announcement Wednesday that it agreed to pay $500 million to settle claims from more than 300 women and girls who said they were assaulted by former sports doctor Larry Nassar is seen as a step toward providing closure for those victims.

But it hardly ends the fallout and investigations into the worst sex-abuse case in sports history.

Here’s where things stand:

• Where’s Larry?

The central figure, Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to molesting women and girls under the guise of treatment and was caught with child pornography.
He is serving three prison sentences that will likely keep him locked up for life. Federal Bureau of Prison records say he is at a prison in Tucson, Arizona.

• Investigate, investigate

Among the investigations that have been launched are ones by the U.S. Education Department and Michigan Attorney General’s office, which are looking into how Michigan State University handled allegations of sexual assault against Nassar.

• Congress

Congress, which has ultimate oversight of the U.S. Olympic team via the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act, is getting more involved.

In January, it passed a bill that makes members of amateur sports organizations, including those that run Olympic sports, mandatory reporters of sexual abuse, and requires the organizations to implement standard protections for athletes. 

Last month, a Senate subcommittee held a hearing on the sexual abuse of Olympic athletes. On May 22, the same subcommittee will hear from leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, USA Taekwondo and Michigan State about an issue that has led to the departures of all those leaders’ predecessors over the past 14 months.

• Pending legislation

Numerous bills inspired by the scandal are pending in Michigan’s Legislature. A measure passed in the Senate would expand and toughen the mandatory reporter law, retroactively extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue and make other changes.

Some bills are roundly opposed by groups worried about a flood of old lawsuits.

The House soon may pass its own package of bills that would, among other things, impose new requirements on doctors performing invasive treatments on minors.

• Beyond Michigan

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this year ordered Texas Rangers to check “gut-wrenching” claims that Nassar assaulted some of the world’s best gymnasts while they trained at a ranch used by USA Gymnastics, southeast of Huntsville.

The ranch is owned by former national team coordinators Bela and Marta Karolyi. USA Gymnastics has ended its relationship with the ranch.

Some of Nassar’s victims last week implored Texas authorities to investigate whether the Karolyis could have done more to prevent Nassar’s sexual abuse at the training center.

Five former gymnasts say Texas authorities have focused on Nassar while overlooking what the Karolyis could have done to stop the abuse. Martha Karolyi told “Dateline NBC” last month that Nassar conned her and her husband in much the same way he conned the parents and coaches of the girls he abused.

Separately, the USOC has asked a law firm to investigate how the committee responded to allegations about Nassar.

• More scrutiny

The NCAA sent a letter to Michigan State in January asking for any potential rules violations related to Nassar. An attorney for the university told governing body of college sports in March that nothing Nassar did at the university violated NCAA rules.
 

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