LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Tomorrow marks the deadline for Larry Nassar survivors to file a lawsuit against Michigan State University and several other institutions.
That’s because state lawmakers decided in May that if other survivors would like to file a lawsuit, they have ninety days to do it, and that ninety day window ends tomorrow.
After the ninety day window was announced, about 160 more women came forward saying they were also abused by former MSU doctor Larry Nassar.
Since the deadline to file a claim is tomorrow, a local survivor and her attorney are encouraging all those who have not yet come forward to know that they’re supported.
“I came forward in November,” said Trinea Gonczar, a survivor of Larry Nassar’s abuse.
Gonczar says even though she spoke up about her experience later than others, she wants those who are on the fence to know it’s not too late.
“For the window that they have right now, tomorrow is the final day that they can get their claim in so it’s really important that they do that, one for themselves, but also for us as a push to make change,” said Gonczar.
In order to qualify for this deadline, survivors had to be a minor at the time of the abuse and it had to happen between December 1996 and June 2016.
“If they fit these parameters, they were allowed to file a lawsuit for their damages, for their civil damages and injuries,” said Mick Grewal, an attorney who represents more than one hundred Larry Nassar survivors.
He says in order for people to file, the abuse also has to be first-degree criminal sexual conduct and the abuser has to be the victim’s doctor or former doctor.
If victims don’t file by tomorrow, Grewal believes that defendants can argue the allegations fall outside of legal boundaries.
“They could possibly lose their claims, even though there’s other legal arguments to say the claims should still be there,” said Grewal.
Grewal wants survivors to know that he’s there for them if they need help.
“If they want to make change happen, they should come forward,” said Grewal.
With Gonczar knowing firsthand the power of what it feels like to speak up, she wants to make sure other survivors have the same opportunity, not just for themselves, but for it to also count in court.
“Don’t let this pass you by because you might regret it Tuesday,” said Gonczar.
Before Nassar was sentenced earlier this year, more than three hundred survivors came forward.
After his sentencing, roughly 100 more stepped up and said they too were abused.
Then, once MSU settled the lawsuit with the survivors, another 160 women came forward.
This means to date, the number of women who have come forward to say Nassar sexually abused them has increased to about 500 and attorneys say that number is likely to grow.