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Judge approves USA Gymnastics $380 million settlement with survivors

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Birch Bayh Federal Building (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

A Southern District of Indiana judge Monday approved, subject to changes, USA Gymnastics' (USAG) proposed plan to get itself out of bankruptcy. The plan includes one of the largest settlement amounts for sexual abuse survivors.

The USAG settlement totals $380 million for survivors of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar and others connected to the sport.

USAG President and CEO Li Li Leung said in a news release that the plan reflects the organization’s "accountability to the past and our commitment to the future."

Ilan Scharf is an attorney with Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP which represents the Survivors’ Committee. He said the court’s approval of the plan including the settlement was a critical step in the process.

"The reality is that no amount of money will compensate these women and some men for their stolen childhood," said Scharf. "But we believe that, and hope that, the settlement will serve as an acknowledgement of the abuse and a measure of accountability for the people and organizations that allowed the abuse to occur."

Scharf said he hopes the money will help survivors and their families obtain any necessary treatment or therapy.

Beyond the payments, the plan also includes efforts to address athlete safety. Four survivors and two attorneys will form a Restorative Justice Task Force that will work to transform the culture of the sport.

Scharf said the non-monetary agreements in the plan were crucial.

"The survivors here are all focused on, first and foremost, making sure this never happens again. Either in gymnastics, and frankly, if they can do anything that helps set new standards in other sports, in other industries, in other youth-centered organizations," he said.

USAG hopes to be out of bankruptcy by the end of the year. The organization first filed for bankruptcy a little over three years ago amidst hundreds of lawsuits across the country.

CORRECTION: The audio for this story has been updated to correct the pronunciation of Larry Nassar's last name.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

Last month, we welcomed Samantha Horton to our station. She is Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter, mainly reporting on business and economic issues in the States of Indiana for WBAA. After graduated from Evansville University with a triple majors degree (International studies, Political science and Communication), Samantha worked for a Public Radio at Evansville for three years, and then she joined WBAA because she wanted to take a bigger role on reporting. So far she enjoyed working in WBAA as business and economy reporter.