10 Biggest Sex Abuse Settlements In The History of The U.S.

Sexual abuse and assault continue to plague society as a whole. More and more survivors of these crimes are coming to the fore than ever before. They often bring a lawsuit against the perpetrator of the sex abuse or someone responsible for the perpetrator’s actions. A notable example was the recent case against Ghislaine Maxwell, the former British socialite. She was found guilty of helping Jeffrey Epstein find young girls by recruiting and trafficking them.

Besides the state cases against the perpetrators for sexual abuse, survivors of sexual assault often also seek compensation through an independent lawsuit to help lessen the physical, emotional and economic burdens they may suffer after the abuse. In most cases, before going to trial, a settlement is reached. Here are some of the largest settlements in sex abuse cases to date:

1.      Archdiocese of Los Angeles One

One of the largest settlements in the U.S. involved a religious institution. The Archdioceses of Los Angeles paid compensation of $660 million for cases of sexual abuse in 2007. The claims settled were for the clergy’s 508 survivors of sexual abuse, with each person receiving about $1.3 million. Interestingly, some of the people in the lawsuit had been victims more than five decades before the case.

2.      The U.S.A. Gymnastics and United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee

In the agreed $380 million settlement, the over 500 sex abuse survivors of Dr. Larry Nassar sought the money to help them overcome problems like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and attempted suicides. The doctor’s young female victims also included some of his patients at Michigan State University.

3.      University of Southern California

A former gynecologist’s sexual assault of patients at the University of Southern California (USC) resulted in a civil lawsuit against the college. Despite complaints by patients and medical staff against the doctor, the action taken against him was insufficient. The sexual assault lawsuits filed were against Dr. Tyndall and the University, resulting in the University paying a settlement of $215 million.

4.      San Diego Clergy

In 2007,144 survivors of sexual abuse by San Diego clergy priests were awarded $198.1 million. These former altar boys each received about $825,000 for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of 48 priests and a coordinator.

5.      Fox News Channel

A sexual harassment scandal at Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. resulted in a $90 million settlement of claims made by the shareholders at the Fox News Channel. The defendants were several officers and directors, but they never admitted to the allegations made against them. The settlement money for the shareholders came from the insurers, directors, and the estate of Roger Aisles.

6.      The Diocese of St. Cloud

Clergy abuse survivors of the Diocese of St. Cloud received a settlement of $22.5 million. In 2020, the diocese had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of failed negotiations for the settlement amount. The bankruptcy court has appointed an independent trustee to administer the settlement to the survivors with input from a committee representing the abuse survivors.

7.      Roger Ailes

Roger Aisles, Fox News CEO in 2016, was accused of sexual harassment by Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News broadcaster. She went on to sue the parent company of Fox News Channel, receiving a formal apology and a $20 million settlement. By mid-2016, Roger Ailes left the company, but with a $40 million settlement.

8.      Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct led to his survivors getting an $18.875 million settlement for two separate lawsuits filed in 2018 against Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, and The Weinstein Company and a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of these women in 2017.

Weinstein was found guilty of the rape and sex abuse charges in 2020 and sentenced to 23 years in prison.

9.      Redlands Unified School District

Several teachers and a golf coach from the Redlands Unified School District were implicated in a sex abuse scandal that resulted in an award of $15.7 million to eight students. The abuse by multiple teachers, a special education teacher, and a golf coach happened between 2015 and 2016.

10. New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden

Browne Sanders, the former executive for the NBA’s New York Knicks, was fired after complaining of sexual harassment by the team head coach and president of its basketball operations, Isiah Thomas. Besides soliciting sex from Ms. Sanders, he also called her names. The settlement agreed on was $11.5 million.

 Final Take

In recent developments, Prince Andrew reached a settlement with Virginia Giuffre for sexual abuse. The agreement comes just weeks before the Queen’s second son’s appearance in a deposition for a lawsuit by one of Epstein’s accusers. The settlement amount remains undisclosed. However, these substantial settlements in these high-profile cases prove that speaking up about sexual abuse cases does offer some relief to the victims through compensation.