Gymnasts including Olympian Simone Biles and dozens of other women are suing the FBI over their failure to act on allegations of abuse against Larry Nassar.
Sports doctor Larry Nassar was reported to the FBI for sexual assault in 2015 by USA Gymnastics, after three gymnasts in Michigan said he made or forced inappropriate contact with them. But the FBI didn’t open a formal investigation, or inform any other law enforcement agencies. This has been conformed by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
A year later, FBI agents in Los Angeles opened a sexual tourism investigation against Nassar after several other allegations, going so far as to interview several victims, but still didn’t alert authorities in either California where he was at the time or Michigan where he lived and worked.
Months later, after still more allegations, he was finally arrested during an investigation by Michigan State Universality Police, where he was the school’s sports doctor. He was convicted of several assault charges in 2017, as well as child pornography, and is currently serving a decades-long sentence.
But he could have been caught, and stopped, much earlier according to the lawsuit. The FBI has admitted as such to Congress.
“I’m especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed. And that’s inexcusable,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told Nassar’s victims at a Senate hearing in 2021.
The lawsuit, representing about 90 claimants, is seeking over $1 billion in damages over the delay. Many of them would not have been victims at all, if the FBI had taken the matter seriously and acted promptly, they claim.
“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 former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy.
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