Nassar Abuse Survivors Reach a $380 Million Settlement

Larry Nassar, the former national gymnastics team doctor set a new standard for child abuse. Research about career abusers of children who are clever enough to escape detection until their 60’s or later, indicates that those individuals may have abused more than 300 children in their lifetime. 

In Larry Nassar’s case, the number exceeds an unimaginable 500 girls whose lives he irreparably damaged. It is a nasty story and includes a black eye for the FBI for their mismanagement of the Nassar episode.

He will spend the rest of his waking days incarcerated. In addition, the U.S.A. Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic & Parlympic Committee will pay a settlement of $380 million to Nassar’s survivors.  However, it won’t erase the mental and emotional scars those women will be saddled for the duration of their lives.

Nassar’s case illustrates the way the “Principle of Cause & Effect” works that the longer and more evil / harmful an action or series of actions may be, the greater the consequences for the perpetrator(s) will also, in exact measure be! 

Observing this situation, we may say the words “what goes around, comes around,” about the participants. But it is the immutable law of “Law Cause & Effect” that makes it happen.

Happily, it works both ways and high quality of life experiences are derived from well-intentioned efforts. 

Nassar Abuse Survivors Reach a $380 Million Settlement

More than 500 girls and women abused by Lawrence G. Nassar, the former national gymnastics team doctor, or someone else in the sport will be compensated.


From left, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols were among the gymnasts who testified in September before a Senate Judiciary Committee about the F.B.I.’s role in the Nassar case.
Credit…Graeme Jennings/Pool via Reuters

Hundreds of female gymnasts who were sexually abused by Lawrence G. Nassar, the former team doctor of the national gymnastics team, have agreed to a $380 million settlement with U.S.A. Gymnastics and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, ending the latest dark chapter in one of the biggest child molestation cases in history.

The settlement, announced on Monday during U.S.A. Gymnastics’ bankruptcy proceedings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana, is among the largest ever for a sexual abuse case. The funds would seek to compensate more than 500 abuse victims, including Olympic gold medalists like Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman. A number of those victims were abused by their coaches or others in the sport.

“No amount of money will ever repair the damage that has been done and what these women have been through,” said Rachael Denhollander, a Nassar survivor and member of a survivors’ committee involved in the settlement negotiations. “But at some point, the negotiations have to end because these women need help — and they need it right now.”

Many of the girls and women abused by Nassar have battled mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and some have attempted suicide because of the abuse, which Nassar perpetrated under the guise of medical treatment. Denhollander, a lawyer, said it was unclear how much money each survivor would receive from the settlement because an independent mediator would consider many factors, including the length of time and the severity of the abuse, when calculating a dollar amount per person.

U.S.A. Gymnastics and U.S.O.P.C. officials applauded the settlement, which, along with the gymnastics federation’s reorganization plan, was approved on Monday by Judge Robyn L. Moberly of the bankruptcy court. That approval means that U.S.A. Gymnastics should emerge from bankruptcy by the end of the year.

The Olympic officials commended the survivors for their bravery and apologized to them.

“U.S.A. Gymnastics is deeply sorry for the trauma and pain that survivors have endured as a result of this organization’s actions and inactions,” Li Li Leung, the president and chief executive of U.S.A. Gymnastics, said in a statement, adding that the reorganization plan reflected the federation’s “accountability to the past and our commitment to the future.”

Sarah Hirshland, the chief executive of the U.S.O.P.C., said in a statement that the committee had made many changes to protect athletes going forward. “We recognize our role in failing to protect these athletes, and we are sorry for the profound hurt they have endured,” she said.

The Nassar case, which forced a spotlight on the vulnerability of young athletes in gymnastics and other sports, revealed how organizations like U.S.A. Gymnastics and the U.S.O.P.C. had failed to protect its athletes and appeared to prize medals over athletes’ safety. There have been numerous Congressional hearings about the issue, and one result was that lawmakers strengthened protections for athletes in Olympic sports.

In one hearing, the F.B.I.’s director, Christopher A. Wray, apologized for the agency’s mismanagement of the case. In heart-wrenching testimony in September, Biles, Maroney, Raisman and the former national team member Maggie Nichols described how the F.B.I. turned a blind eye to Nassar’s abuse while the investigation stalled and children suffered.

One legacy of the case will be how it empowered victims to speak about their sexual abuse and face their accusers. At Nassar’s sentencing hearings in early 2018, more than 100 girls and women he abused, including some of his patients at Michigan State University, stood in front of him and gave witness statements about how he had hurt them. Their statements were often defiant, and told of how they had persevered despite the abuse.

Because of the Nassar case, sports organizations became aware of their culpability when athletes were abused on their watch. Steve Penny, the former U.S.A. Gymnastics president and chief executive, was fired from the federation and faces a felony charge of evidence tampering in the case. Scott Blackmun resigned under pressure as chief executive of the U.S.O.P.C.

“The settlement shows that there was injustice absolutely going on here,” John C. Manly, a lawyer representing many of the victims, said. “But if you really want to stop people who enable child molesters, you have to start sending people to jail.”

Manly added that the only person in the case serving time in prison is Nassar, and said that Nassar’s enablers, including the sports, university and law enforcement officials who heard complaints about him but never followed up, should be in prison, too. Manly said he had mixed feelings about the settlement: It stings, he said, that it has been five years since he filed his first suit in the case.

“For the life of me, I don’t know why five years had to go by and hundreds of millions of dollars had to be spent on corporate lawyers for us to get to this point,” he said.

The first significant payout to Nassar’s victims was announced in 2018, when Michigan State promised to give $500 million to survivors of the doctor’s abuse. It was believed to be the largest settlement reached in a sexual abuse case involving an American university.

In Monday’s announced settlement, insurers of U.S.A. Gymnastics and the U.S.O.P.C. would pay the bulk of the $380 million, but the U.S.O.P.C. also agreed to pay $34 million of its own money and give U.S.A. Gymnastics a loan of about $6 million. That contribution represents a stunning turnaround for the organization, which had argued that it should not be held responsible for Nassar’s crimes or be named in Nassar-related abuse suits, partly because the doctor was not an employee of the Olympic committee.

Under an avalanche of Nassar lawsuits filed against U.S.A. Gymnastics, the gymnastics federation lost all of its major sponsors and filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2018, the same year Nassar was sentenced to what amounted to life in prison for multiple sex crimes. The $380 million settlement now will help the federation emerge from bankruptcy after years of uncertainty. Another benefit for the federation is that it will keep the U.S.O.P.C. from decertifying U.S.A. Gymnastics as an Olympic organization, a possibility that had loomed over it since it was basically placed on probation in 2018.

In August, U.S.A. Gymnastics and Nassar’s abuse victims agreed on a $425 million proposed settlement, but it had yet to be fully funded because several insurance companies had not agreed to contribute the money they were asked to. Another lingering issue was how much money the U.S.O.P.C. should, and would, contribute. That settlement proposal and the current one, though, both included a list of nonmonetary provisions, which survivors like Denhollander view as crucial to rebuilding the sport and keeping its athletes safe.

One provision would be that at least one Nassar survivor would serve on the federation’s board of directors. Another provision would be that there would be an independent accounting of what went wrong in the Nassar case, and how it went wrong, Denhollander said.

“To move forward, we have to make sure that this never happens again — on the Olympic team or at the lowest level gyms,” she said, noting that only a small percentage — maybe less than 10 percent — of the 500 victims in the settlement were elite gymnasts. “I think we owe it to the survivors, but also to the future gymnasts, to do the best that we can do to protect them.”

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Nassar Abuse Survivors Reach a $380 Million Settlement

Nassar Abuse Survivors Reach a $380 Million Settlement

Here’s a case of “Group malfeasance, blamed on poor judgement, from the consumption of too much wine!” A nine month investigation of the American chapter of “The Court of Master Sommeliers” has revealed a widespread expectation/demand of sexual favors in return for mentoring female applicants, undergoing the rigorous exam process, required for membership and recognition as an official Sommellier. 

This follows the complaint of 21 women that their supposed mentors, had pressured them for sex, apparently a well-established condition with a long history. So far 22 men have been investigated. 

The point being, that when a lowly activity becomes “institutionalized” in a grouping of people, ie: company, sport, union, association, religion, etc, it can go on undetected for a long time. It may even acquire an almost “accepted as part of the game” kind of cover, with those participating considering it, “just one of their perks”, and no big deal! That is, until someone blows the lid off.

That’s when everything changes for those who took part. It is not after all, that they didn’t know there was something amiss about the game they were playing. They just thought they had a really good cover! Instead, that cover just went poof, as all covers eventually do. Just another example that, “What Goes Around Comes Around!” Its just difficult to predict when. 

Colombo Family Crime Boss and 12 Others Are Arrested, Prosecutors Say

An indictment unsealed on Tuesday accuses the organization of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort a labor union.

Credit…Jesse Ward


For two decades, the leadership of the Colombo crime family extorted a Queens labor union, federal prosecutors said — an effort that continued unabated even as members of the mob clan cycled through prison, the family’s notorious longtime boss died, and as federal law enforcement closed in.

Over time, what began as a Colombo captain’s shakedown of a union leader, complete with expletive-laced threats of violence, expanded into a cottage industry, prosecutors said, as the Colombo organization assumed control of contracting and union business, with side operations in phony construction certificates, marijuana trafficking and loan-sharking.

On Tuesday, 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family, including the mob clan’s entire leadership, were charged in a labor racketeering case brought by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

All but two of the men were arrested Tuesday morning across New York and New Jersey, prosecutors said. Another was surrendered to the authorities on Tuesday; another defendant, identified as the family consigliere, remained at large, prosecutors said.

The indictment accuses the Colombo family of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort an unnamed labor union that represented construction workers, using threats of violence to secure payments and arrange contracts that would benefit the crime family.

The charges are an ambitious effort by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take down one of the city’s five Mafia families. In addition to the union extortion scheme, which is the heart of the racketeering charge, the indictment charges several misdeeds often associated with the mob, including drug trafficking, money laundering, loan-sharking and falsifying federal labor safety paperwork.

Detention hearings for the defendants in Brooklyn federal court continued into the evening Tuesday, as they entered not-guilty pleas to the charges; prosecutors had asked the court to keep 10 of the defendants in custody.

“Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself,” Michael J. Driscoll, F.B.I. assistant director-in-charge, said in a statement. “The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well.”

Around 2001, prosecutors said, Vincent Ricciardo — a reported captain in the family, also known as “Vinny Unions” — began to demand a portion of a senior labor union official’s salary. When Mr. Ricciardo was convicted and imprisoned on federal racketeering charges in the mid-2000s, prosecutors said, his cousin continued to collect those payments.

Starting in late 2019, prosecutors said, the senior leadership of the Colombo family became directly involved in the shakedown, which extended to broader efforts to siphon money from the union: for example, manipulating the selection of union health fund vendors to contract with entities connected to the family, and diverting more than $10,000 each month from the fund to the family.

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Andrew Russo, 87, who prosecutors describe as the family boss, is accused of taking part in those efforts, as well as a money-laundering scheme to send the proceeds of the union extortion through intermediaries to Colombo associates. He was among nine defendants charged with racketeering.

Mr. Russo appeared in court virtually from the hospital Tuesday; he is set to be detained upon his release, pending a future bail hearing.

The family’s infamous longtime boss, Carmine J. Persico, died in federal custody in North Carolina in March 2019.

Federal law enforcement learned of the extortion scheme about a year ago, prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday; investigators gathered thousands of hours of wiretapped calls and conversations recorded by a confidential witness, wrote the prosecutors, who also described law-enforcement surveillance of meetings among the accused conspirators.

The authorities said they repeatedly captured Mr. Ricciardo and his associates threatening to kill the union official. “I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids,” Mr. Ricciardo was recorded saying in June.

On another occasion cited by prosecutors in the memo seeking his detention, Mr. Ricciardo directed the union official to hire a consultant selected by the Colombo family, saying: “It’s my union and that’s it.” Prosecutors said his activities were overseen by a Colombo soldier and the consigliere who remains at large.

Much of the activity outlined in the indictment took place while the defendants were either in prison or on supervised release for prior federal mob-related convictions. Theodore Persico Jr., described as a family captain and soldier, was released from federal prison in 2020 and, despite a directive not to associate with members of organized crime, “directed much of the labor racketeering scheme,” prosecutors said.

Mr. Persico, 58, is set to inherit the role of boss after Mr. Russo, prosecutors wrote.

Several of the defendants were named in what prosecutors described as a fraudulent safety training scheme, in which they falsified state and federal paperwork that is required for construction workers to show they have completed safety training courses.

One of the defendants, John Ragano — whom prosecutors say is a soldier in the Bonanno crime family — is accused of setting up phony occupational safety training schools in New York, which prosecutors said were “mills” that provided fraudulent safety training certificates to hundreds of people.

In October 2020, prosecutors said, an undercover law enforcement officer visited one of the schools in Ozone Park, Queens, and received, from Mr. Ricciardo’s cousin, a blank test form and an answer sheet; weeks later, the agent returned to pick up his federal safety card and paid $500.

The purported schools were also used for meetings with members of La Cosa Nostra — the group of crime families commonly known as the Mafia — and to store illegal drugs and fireworks, according to the indictment.

Mr. Ragano wasn’t charged on the racketeering count, although prosecutors also sought his detention pending trial. In addition to the racketeering count, several defendants, including Mr. Ricciardo and his cousin, were charged with extortion, conspiracy, fraud and conspiracy to make false statements.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.


An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people identified in an indictment as members of the Colombo crime family. It is 11, not more than a dozen.