FBI Will Pay Hefty Price for Sitting on Nassar Allegations

Justice Department reaches $139M settlement with 139 victims
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2024 3:16 PM CDT
Updated Apr 23, 2024 12:21 PM CDT
FBI Sat on Nassar Allegations, Will Pay for Doing So
In this Nov. 22, 2017 file photo, Dr. Larry Nassar, 54, appears in court for a plea hearing in Lansing, Mich.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
UPDATE Apr 23, 2024 12:21 PM CDT

The settlement is even bigger than expected: The Justice Department will pay nearly $139 million to resolve 139 claims over its handling of sex abuse cases involving Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, reports the Washington Post. Victims say the feds were slow to respond to their allegations over the years. "While these settlements won't undo the harm Nassar inflicted, our hope is that they will help give the victims of his crimes some of the critical support they need to continue healing," said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer in a statement.

Apr 17, 2024 3:16 PM CDT

The final legal claims against the institutions that in one way or another failed the athletes who were victimized by Larry Nassar have been settled. The Justice Department announced it will pay roughly $100 million to more than 100 victims of the former national women's gymnastics team doctor in connection with the FBI's failure to act on reports that he was abusing athletes. The settlement has not been finalized, but the Wall Street Journal and USA Today say sources confirm the DOJ has agreed to pay that amount. They had sought more than $1 billion from the FBI. This settlement would bring the total liability-related legal payouts to victims to just shy of $1 billion (see this and this). The FBI's mishandling of the complaints it received was detailed in a 2021 report from the DOJ's inspector general:

  • USA Gymnastics shared the gymnasts' allegations of molestation with the Indianapolis field office on July 28, 2015.
  • There was apparently confusion among the agents about jurisdiction: USA Gymnastics is headquartered in Indianapolis, but there were no allegations that involved Nassar treating gymnasts in that city.
  • Though the report stated Indianapolis agents told USA Gymnastics they had transferred the allegations to the FBI's resident agency in Lansing, Michigan, they actually hadn't done so.
  • After the July 2015 meeting, which wasn't formally documented, Indianapolis agents interviewed only one gymnast, McKayla Maroney.
  • The FBI did not reach out to state or local law enforcement or do anything else that might have safeguarded Nassar's patients and otherwise failed to act for more than 14 months, during which Nassar allegedly abused another 40 people, reports ABC News.
(More Larry Nassar stories.)

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