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Nassar sentenced to 40-175 years, now is time for victims to file civil cases to hold the institutions accountable

Nassar sentenced to 40-175 years, now is time for victims to file civil cases to hold the institutions accountable

The former doctor for the USA gymnastics team, Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on Wednesday for multiple sex crimes, capping an extraordinary seven-day hearing that drew more than 150 young women to publicly confront him.  The opportunity for these brave young women to confront their abuser is part of the healing process.  But in this case, like many others I handle, the perpetrator can not abuse for decades without help from the institutions.  The criminal case is about holding the abuser accountable.  The civil case is about holding the institution that enabled the abuser accountable.  There are several legal theories that may be used to sue institutions.  The most common is simple negligence.  Under this theory, the victim/plaintiff may argue USA Gymnastics owed them a duty to prevent foreseeable harm.   The question then is was the abuse by Nassar foreseeable.  If USA Gymnastics had notice through reports or complaints by other victims, then arguably it is foreseeable that more girls will be abused.

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