Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and tens of other women claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar are seeking over $1 billion from the FBI for not apprehending the sports doctor once allegations against him were received by the agency, lawyers announced Wednesday.
There is no doubt that FBI agents in 2015 were aware that Nassar was being accused of assaulting gymnasts, but they never acted, allowing him to continue targeting young women and girls for over a year. He is serving decades in prison after pleading guilty in 2017.
A government agency is given six months under federal law to respond to the tort claims filed Wednesday. It could result in lawsuits, depending on the FBI’s response.
In 2018 and 5 weeks before the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the FBI received a tip but it was never forwarded to the FBI’s South Florida office. The government accepted to pay $127.5 million to the families of the victims, as reported.
The estimated 90 plaintiffs include several Olympic gold medalists, Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, according to Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, a California-based law firm. There were 13 separate claims filed by others in April.
“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,” claimed the gymnast Samantha Roy.
In 2015, Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics reported to local officials that three gymnasts reported being assaulted by Nassar, a team doctor. But no formal investigation was opened by the FBI nor were federal or state authorities in Michigan notified, according to the Justice Department’s inspector general, an internal watchdog.
The inspector general said that in 2016, Los Angeles officers opened a sex tourism investigation against Nassar and interviewed several victims, but also failed to alert Michigan authorities.
The inspector general said that in 2016, Los Angeles officers opened a sex tourism investigation against Nassar and interviewed victims, but also failed to alert Michigan authorities.
Victims had to wait until fall 2016 during an investigation by Michigan State University police for Nassar to be arrested.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office finally handled the assault charges against Nassar, while federal prosecutors in Michigan, filed a child pornography case.
In comments to Congress last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted major flaws.
At that same hearing, Biles, considered as the greatest gymnast, testified that an “entire system” had allowed the abuse. Maroney recalls a “dead silence” when she reported Nassar to the FBI agents.
No criminal charges were pursued against former agents accused of giving inaccurate or incomplete answers during the inspector general’s investigation.
Large settlements have resulted from federal law enforcement failures, among them $127.5 million for the families of those killed or injured in 2018 at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Michigan State University has settled for $500 million for more than 300 victims abused by Nassar, for failing to stop him. The USOPC and USA Gymnastics reached a $380 million settlement.