The American Association for Justice (AAJ) recently published their annual Worst Corporate Conduct list for 2018. Multi-billion-dollar financial, oil and car manufacturing companies came under attack for putting profit ahead of economic welfare, environmental protection and public safety. Nestlé was singled out for using international child and slave labor in its cocoa production in Africa.
And amidst these worldwide atrocities, the AAJ also pointed to Michigan State University (MSU) and USA Gymnastics for their decades-long protection of a known sexual predator.
Earlier this year, Larry Nassar—former sports medicine doctor for MSU and USA Gymnastics—was finally held accountable for the decades of sexual abuse he inflicted on hundreds of young gymnasts. Nassar was convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault of a minor and was sentenced to a minimum of 100 years in prison. The monster who destroyed hundreds of young women’s lives will never again be free.
While this outcome represents a victory for Nassar’s victims—as well as other sexual abuse victims across the country—attention now turns to the institutions that knowingly permitted such horrific behavior for years on end.
MSU and USA Gymnastics have demonstrated complicity in Nassar’s crimes. At least 14 high-level MSU employees knew of his sexual abuses within the gymnastics program—but they did nothing to stop it.
When the CEO of USA Gymnastics heard complaints of a gymnast’s sexual abuse, he cautioned the victim’s mother to avoid going to the police. He then waited 41 days to report the allegations himself. He has since been arrested and charged with destroying incriminating evidence against Nassar.
Preventable tragedies such as these call for the institutions that facilitated such crimes to be held accountable. MSU has recently settled a lawsuit with 500 of Nassar’s victims for $500 million. Another lawsuit against USA Gymnastics is currently underway.