Olympics - USOPC 'dedicated' to settlement plan for Nassar abuse victims


FILE PHOTO: Susanne Lyons, Acting Chief Executive Officer of United States Olympic Committee testifies before a Commerce Subcommittee hearing entitled "Strengthening and Empowering U.S. Amateur Athletes: Moving Forward with Solutions" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

(Reuters) - The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said on Friday it is dedicated to making sure the joint settlement agreement reached between the organisation, USA Gymnastics and survivors of the Larry Nassar sex-abuse scandal succeeds.

USA Gymnastics and victims of the former national team doctor filed a joint $425 million settlement proposal three weeks ago that needs to be approved by survivors and insurers in order for it to move forward as a full settlement.

USOPC Chair Susanne Lyons said none of the parties involved in the mediation process are allowed to provide details but made clear where her organisation stands.

"I can just promise you that we are dedicated to helping it succeed so that these survivors can achieve (legal) closure. So I really can't say a whole lot more about that," Lyons said on a conference call.

"The insurance companies are engaged in the conversation as are we and we'll see how that goes."

Lyons was speaking nine days after Simone Biles, alongside fellow gymnasts McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, told lawmakers the FBI and U.S. gymnastic and Olympic officials failed to stop the abuse she and hundreds of other athletes suffered from Nassar.

"It's always very difficult to hear and relive the survivors' pain, and we all very much were interested in hearing what was said at that hearing last week," said Lyons.

"We still have tremendous empathy and support for the survivors of the Nassar situation, as you know the mediation continues in trying to reach a settlement.

"We are very much a part of that and very eager to get to closure on that so that these athletes can have some closure and move on with their lives."

Nassar, who is also a former employee of Michigan State University, has been found guilty in three separate cases, with one of the prison sentences running up to 175 years.

The USOPC hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation and has since implemented reforms, including new leadership and stronger accountability measures in an effort to create a culture free from abuse.

"It's understandable that athletes would have anger towards the entire system that they believe failed them," said Lyons.

"We believe that we've taken very significant measures over the last three years to try to address athlete safety and to ensure that something like this could ever happen again."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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