Deadline looms for claims in $75M Nassar settlement

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2018 file photo, Larry Nassar appears for his sentencing at Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Mich. The Justice Department's inspector general is investigating how the FBI handled sexual abuse allegations against the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday, Sept. 5 The investigation comes amid allegations that the FBI had failed to promptly address complaints made in 2015 against Nasser, a once-renowned gymnastics doctor. Nassar is now serving decades in prison after hundreds of girls and women said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment when he worked for Michigan State and Indiana-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. (Cory Morse /The Grand Rapids Press via AP, File)

DETROIT — 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.”

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