DOJ announces $139M settlement with Larry Nassar’s victims over claims of FBI misconduct

“These allegations should have been taken seriously from the start.”

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it has reached a $138.7 million settlement agreement with the victims of disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to resolve their allegations of wrongdoing against the FBI in due to its failure to investigate allegations of sexual abuse.

“For decades, Lawrence Nassar abused his position, betraying the trust of those in his care and under his medical supervision while avoiding his responsibilities,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said in a statement . “These allegations should have been taken seriously from the start. While these settlements will not undo the harm inflicted by Nassar, we hope they will help provide victims of his crimes with the critical support they need to continue their healing .”

Once finalized, the settlement will resolve 139 tort claims filed against the DOJ and FBI in 2022 by the long list of athletes and patients who reported abuse by Nassar, including Maggie Nichols, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

The claims, which totaled about $1 billion in damages, were filed after the department said it declined to pursue criminal charges against officers who the DOJ inspector general said did not failed to properly investigate allegations of abuse by Nassar.

The watchdog’s report found that the FBI was informed of Nassar’s behavior but did not act for more than 14 months, during which time Nassar allegedly abused at least 40 other girls and women.

Nassar pleaded guilty in 2017 to crimes committed against multiple victims and was sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography and other charges. He pleaded guilty again in 2018 and received additional sentences of 40 to 175 years for multiple counts of sexual assault of minors.

Lawyers for many of those who filed lawsuits against the government celebrated the deal Tuesday, but said “the FBI fundamentally failed to protect hundreds of women and girls from sexual abuse at because of his inaction and his mishandling of his investigation into Larry Nassar.

“We are proud to have reached a monumental settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice that not only ensures the recovery survivors deserve, but also holds the DOJ and FBI accountable for their failures,” Megan Bonanni and Michael L. Pitt, who represent 77 of the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

“We hope this will serve as a lesson to federal law enforcement and make the necessary changes to prevent a situation like this from happening again.”

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