Dozens of young women who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar are seeking more than $1 billion from the FBI for the bureau’s failure to stop the former sports doctor and convicted sex offender when the agency first received allegations against him. According to a report by the Associated Press, the agency now has six months to respond to tort claims filed Wednesday, and lawsuits could soon follow depending on their response.
FBI agents had been told by USA Gymnastics in 2015 that three gymnasts claimed they were sexually assaulted by Nassar, but the agency did not open a formal investigation or inform federal or state authorities in Michigan about the matter. As a result, Nassar was left free to continue preying on girls and young women for over a year before being arrested in November of 2016.
The U.S. Justice Department recently announced that a pair of former FBI agents who failed to quickly open an investigation into Nassar will not face criminal charges.
Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, all of whom are Olympic gold medalists, are among the approximately 90 claimants. All are seeking to hold the FBI accountable for their mishandling of the Nassar probe.
“If the FBI had simply done its job, Nassar would have been stopped before he ever had the chance to abuse hundreds of girls, including me,” said Samantha Roy, a former gymnast at the University of Michigan.
Previous settlements have been made by multiple institutions towards Nassar’s victims.
- Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 girls and young women who Nassar assaulted under the guise of medical treatment.
- USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee made a settlement of $380 million.
Past precedent exists for a similar settlement from the FBI. After the FBI failed to act on a tip five weeks prior to a 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the agency agreed to pay $127.5 million to the families of those killed or injured.