Former Olympic gymnasts among the 90 women suing the FBI for negligence in Larry Nassar investigation
A DOJ watchdog report from last Summer revealed the agency learned about Nassar’s abuses in 2015, but did nothing.
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Former Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney have joined 87 other women in taking on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in court, regarding the agency’s failure to properly investigate complaints against Dr. Larry Nassar.
The FBI’s negligence in this case resulted in the continued sexual abuse of women and girls under his care.
Simone Biles and 90+ other survivors are seeking $1B from the FBI for failing to stop sexual abuse by ex-USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 8, 2022
FBI agents waited over a year to arrest Nassar, during which he abused at least 70 more people. The DOJ has refused to charge the agents. pic.twitter.com/yQD86pz1eE
The women filed federal tort claims against the agency, seeking a total of more than $1 billion in damages. Federal tort claims law allows individuals who were injured due to negligence or a wrongful act or omission by the federal government to be compensated.
Nassar was a former physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University and is now serving a 175-year sentence for abusing dozens of female athletes under the guise of medical treatment.
In 2015, the FBI received reports that Nassar had been abusing multiple gymnasts, but a report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) found that the agency did not open an investigation at this time.
"To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse. USA gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic committee knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge,” Biles told the Senate last September.
Several U.S. gymnasts, including Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney, are seeking more than $1 billion from the FBI for its failure to stop former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s serial abuse. pic.twitter.com/eLb4a8wUtL— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 8, 2022
According to a press release from Manly, Stewart & Finaldi — one of the firms representing the plaintiffs — the FBI had the opportunity to stop Nassar’s abuse in 2015.
But instead, the law firm stated, FBI officials were “grossly derelict in their duties” by refusing to interview gymnasts, and lying to Congress and authorities within the bureau.
Attorneys also noted that most of the plaintiffs were abused by Nassar after 2015, when the FBI initially received multiple reports of Nassar’s pattern of sexual abuse.
Under federal law, the FBI has six months to respond to the tort claims.
This legal action comes just two weeks after the DOJ chose not to prosecute the two FBI agents accused of mishandling the investigation.
Agents Michael Langeman and W. Jay Abbott were accused by the agency’s own watchdog of making false statements about the matter.
In the DOJ report released last Summer, the inspector general wrote that Abbott made false statements in order to “minimize errors made by the Indianapolis field office in connection with the handling of the Nassar allegations.”
That @FBI agent, Michael Langeman was fired only *two weeks ago* while W. Jay Abbott quietly retired in 2018.— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) September 16, 2021
They and other agents lied to investigators to cover up their catastrophic errors in handling the Nassar case.
Read the full report here: https://t.co/sLVA4zcj3l pic.twitter.com/LwCzpCEvHE
The report also said that Abbott was inquiring about potential job opportunities at USA Gymnastics while asking the organization about Nassar’s abuse allegations, and these actions violated FBI policy.
Last Summer’s scathing DOJ report also found that 70 of more athletes were sexually abused by Nassar between July 2015 and August 2016. The 90 women suing the FBI say they were abused during this time period.
“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,” former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy said in a statement.