Skip to main content

Larry Nassar Victims and Attorneys Call Department of Education 4.5 Million Dollar Fine Against MSU “Completely Inadequate and an Insult to Survivors.”

Survivors of Larry Nassar and their attorneys criticized the $4.5 million fine imposed on Michigan State University by the Department of Education as "completely inadequate," emphasizing it as an insult rather than a meaningful penalty for the university's systemic failure to respond to reports of abuse.

Irvine, California – The announcement by the US Department of Education of a 4.5-million-dollar settlement with Michigan State University following a Title IX investigation into the University’s handling of the Larry Nassar scandal was strongly criticized by prominent Nassar survivors and their attorneys.

The Title IX investigation found a systemic failure by the University and its officials to respond to reports of abuse by Larry Nassar and take corrective action.

In announcing a settlement with Michigan State University that requires payment of 4.5-million-dollar fine, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos called MSU’s conduct “abhorrent.”

Nassar victim’s attorney John Manly said, “A 4.5-million-dollar settlement is not a punishment for knowingly allowing little girls to be molested for more than 20 years. It is a gift. The Department of Education could have sent a strong and meaningful message that MSU’s behavior is not acceptable. Instead, they sent a message to every university in America that if you ignore reports of sexual assault on your campus and cover-up the crimes of perpetrators, you will get a slap on the wrist. This is completely inadequate and an insult to survivors.”

The Nassar victims and their attorneys are calling for a federal criminal investigation of Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, and the US Olympic Committee. They are also calling for the resignation of Michigan State University Trustees who served during the Nassar scandal and failed to take action, especially Joel Ferguson and Dan Kelly.

Nassar victim Tiffany Thomas Lopez, who first reported Nassar’s abuse to MSU in 1999, said, “If MSU had believed me and other survivors more than twenty years ago, at least 600 women could have been spared sexual abuse.

It should not have taken the federal government more than 20 years to investigate MSU. I fear that the inadequate penalty they imposed will not stop other universities from hiding the crimes of sexual abusers on their campuses,” said Ms. Lopez.

Nassar survivor and victim’s attorney Sarah Klein said, “To put this in proper context, the 4.5-million-dollar penalty imposed by Secretary DeVos to MSU represents less than 1% than the settlement that University was forced to make with Nassar’s victims and is probably less than the retirement package they handed to disgraced former President Lou Anna K. Simon, who presided over the Nassar cover-up and is currently facing criminal charges. This tells universities that it is much cheaper to protect perpetrators than to properly investigate reports of sexual abuse and take action.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the members of her family are among the largest contributors and supporters of Michigan State University.

Manly Stewart & Finaldi is California’s leading law firm representing child victims of sexual abuse. The firm has represented more than 150 victims of clergy sexual abuse in California and hundreds of others throughout the United States. The firm also represented plaintiffs in the $140,000,000 settlement against LAUSD in the Miramonte case, the largest sex abuse settlement against a School District in the US. The firm currently represents more than 180 alleged victims of former Michigan State University and U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Team doctor Larry Nassar. Michigan State University has settled this case for $500,000,000, the largest settlement of any personal injury case against a University.

View as PDF

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is regarded as America's leading law firm for sexual abuse cases. As a firm that exclusively handles sexual abuse cases, our California law firm offers experienced representation to obtain justice for sexual abuse survivors, harassment, and discrimination.

Learn more about Manly, Stewart & Finaldi.