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Negotiations with Nassar victims held up by insurers, USOPC claims in lawsuit

USOPC chair Susanne Lyons said Friday that the organization is suing its insurers over delays in the process of reaching agreements with the victims of Larry Nassar. (Susan Walsh/AP)

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee sued several insurance companies Friday, said board chair Susanne Lyons, who accused the insurers of holding up settlement negotiations with hundreds of girls and women sexually abused by former Olympic gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar.

“For nearly a year and a half, we have actively participated in the mediation process in an effort to achieve a fair and just resolution for the victims and survivors,” Lyons said. “Because the insurance companies have not lived up to their contractual obligations to the USOPC — including not acting fairly, in good faith, in exploring whether a reasonable settlement can be achieved — we were forced to file this lawsuit.”

Lyons did not disclose which insurance companies the USOPC has sued. A copy of the lawsuit, filed in Colorado state court in Denver, was not immediately available.

Hundreds of girls and women have sued the USOPC, Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics over Nassar’s abuse. Michigan State, where Nassar worked for years, paid $500 million in 2018 to settle claims brought by more than 330 victims. In hopes of reaching a settlement, the USOPC and USA Gymnastics, which is mired in bankruptcy proceedings, have been participating in mediation with Nassar victims.

“This lawsuit should have been filed years ago,” said John Manly, an attorney for more than 200 girls and women assaulted by Nassar, including several Olympic gymnasts. “The fact it wasn’t reflects the USOPC’s indifference to the survivors’ collective fate and the utter incompetence of its leadership.”

Nassar, 57, is serving what is effectively a life sentence after convictions of sexually assaulting children and possession of child pornography. He assaulted hundreds of girls and women during his career in sports medicine, often under the guise of medical treatment, while working at Michigan State and as a volunteer doctor for Team USA’s women gymnasts.

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