By ED WHITE, Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) — Lawyers rushed to meet a Monday deadline to file lawsuits against Michigan State University to qualify for $75 million set aside for more victims of Larry Nassar.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed in the past week, including one on behalf of 21 Jane Does who said they were sexually assaulted by the campus sports doctor. Michigan State in May agreed to pay $425 million to 332 victims and set aside $75 million for additional claims.
Gary Bender, an attorney in Okemos, Michigan, said he’s representing 10 women or girls. He predicts at least 150 new claims in federal court in western Michigan, based on filings so far and his conversations with other attorneys.
“My clients were embarrassed or weren’t prepared to step forward earlier,” Bender said. “They had not told their family about the abuse they endured and weren’t prepared to act.”
Nassar, 55, is serving decades in prison, first for child pornography crimes and then for assault. He was accused of molesting females with his hands while telling them he could relieve their hip and back pain with unique procedures.
Nassar saw Michigan State athletes, young elite gymnasts in the region and U.S. Olympians.
Bender said it’s not known how the $75 million will be divided. Michigan State has asked a judge to put any new cases on hold while it looks at the claims and talks to all attorneys.
“We don’t oppose it,” Bender said. “We don’t know how they’re going to proceed.”