Gymnasts, including Simone Biles, demand $1 billion from FBI over Larry Nassar case
About 90 victims of sports doctor Larry Nassar, including former Olympic gymnasts like Simone Biles, are asking the FBI to pay around $1 billion, plaintiffs’ attorneys announcement Wednesday after the federal government failed to properly address sexual abuse allegations against hundreds of gymnasts.
Biles and gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols are among the group filing a series of tort lawsuits against the federal government, whose combined claims could exceed $1 billion in damages, ABC News reportsciting the law firms representing the plaintiffs.
Inspector General of the Ministry of Justice found in a July 2021 report that the FBI “failed to respond to Nassar’s allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency they deserved and demanded”, made “numerous fundamental errors” and “violated several FBI policies.
The report found that FBI agents were made aware of the abuse allegations against Nassar as early as 2015, but “took no steps to mitigate the risk to the gymnasts whom Nassar continued to treat.”
The IG reports that at least 70 gymnasts were allegedly abused between when the FBI first learned of the allegations and when Nassar was finally removed from his position in September 2016 following an investigation. separate from Michigan State University.
Thirteen gymnasts had previously filed $130 million in claims against the FBI in April.
“For 421 days [the FBI] worked with USA Gymnastics and USOPC to hide this information from the public and allowed Nassar to continue to assault young women and girls,” Nichols said in a statement. “It’s time the FBI was held accountable.”
The FBI has yet to respond to a request for comment, but director Christopher Wray previously expressed regret for the agency’s handling of the allegations, which took place before his tenure as director began. “I’m especially sorry that there were people in the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster in 2015 and failed,” Wray told a Senate hearing on the matter, calling the treatment of the case by the FBI as “inexcusable”.
Nasar has been accused of abuse by more than 330 female gymnasts, and he is serving a prison sentence of more than 300 years after being sentenced three times for his crimes. Prominent gymnasts, including Biles, Maroney, Nichols and Raisman, have spoken openly about the abuse they suffered at the hands of the sports doctor and have sought to hold accountable the entities that helped enable his abuse, with Biles bear witness before Congress that “the scars of this horrific abuse live on with all of us”. Gymnasts’ FBI claim for damages comes after Nassar abuse victims already awarded $500m regulation from Michigan State University and $380 million of USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
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