Larry Nassar’s victims reach $138.7 million settlement over botched FBI probe

The Justice Department agreed to pay more than $138 million to victims of disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar and apologized for the FBI’s failure to act on warnings about the convicted sex offender, it was announced. officials Tuesday.

The “FBI failed to adequately investigate Nassar’s conduct,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer said in announcing the $138.7 million settlement.

“For decades, Lawrence Nassar abused his position, betraying the trust of those under his watch and medical supervision, while avoiding his responsibilities,” Mizer said.

“These allegations should have been taken seriously from the start. While these settlements will not undo the harm Nassar inflicted, we hope they will help provide victims of his crimes with the critical support they need to continue their healing.

It was reported last week that the Justice Department would have to pay around $100 million.

The announcement is the culmination of several years of internal investigations that concluded that FBI agents in Indianapolis made “fundamental errors” by failing to notify other FBI offices or state or local authorities of the existence of Nassar.

A 2021 report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz blasted the Indianapolis-based agents, saying officials in that field office “failed to take responsibility for their failures” and instead “provided incomplete and inaccurate information to give the impression that they had been diligent in responding to the request.” allegations of sexual abuse.

Larry Nassar in Eaton County Court in Charlotte, Michigan on February 5, 2018.Matthew Dae Smith / AP file

The settlement came after two years of lengthy and complex negotiations between Nassar’s victims and the Justice Department, according to multiple sources familiar with the drawn-out negotiations.

“It was a tough negotiation. I think they (the DOJ) understood what happened and the seriousness of the situation,” a source told NBC News. “The Justice Department actually recognized that something was seriously wrong here and they were reasonable in coming to an agreement.”

Attorney John Manly, who represents more than two dozen Nassar victims, said he is still waiting to hear from former FBI Director James Comey, who led the bureau from 2013 to 2017.

“What seems very troubling to me here, despite numerous requests, is that the man who ran the FBI at the time, Jim Comey, has never explained what happened or how it happened. product,” said Manly, whose clients include Olympians McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman.

Comey could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

The funds have already been distributed by applicant, with different amounts determined on a case-by-case basis, several sources familiar with the negotiations told NBC News. These funds are expected to be distributed within the next two months.

“Survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse were betrayed by the institutions they should have been able to trust. At a time when these athletes were in dire need of help, the FBI indefensibly failed to do its job,” U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement.

Grassley is a minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“While the past can never be undone, today’s settlement is an important step in providing some justice for what these athletes suffered,” the lawmaker added.

“I once again commend the survivors for their courage and composure, and for courageously speaking out about their experiences. Their unwavering fight for change has forged a brighter future for the athletes and young women who follow in their footsteps. “

Tuesday’s agreement is the latest in a series of civil settlements recognizing institutional failures when victims first raised the alarm about Nassar.

Michigan State University, where Nassar worked, agreed to pay $500 million in 2018 to women and girls who were assaulted by him.

USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee reached a $380 million settlement for victims in 2021.

The settlement announced Tuesday will resolve 139 complaints filed against the FBI, according to the DOJ.

Attorneys Megan Bonanni and Michael Pitt, who represent 77 of the 139 plaintiffs, said the settlement would hold “the DOJ and the FBI accountable for their failures.”

“The FBI fundamentally failed to protect hundreds of women and girls from sexual abuse because of its inaction and mishandling of the Larry Nassar investigation,” the attorneys 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.”

Nassar, 60, is serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, where his expected release date is January 30, 2068. It is unlikely the disgraced doctor will ever be released.

  • He pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal charges stemming from his handling of thousands of images of child pornography, leading to his 60-year prison sentence which he is serving in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • In 2018, a judge in Ingham County, Michigan, sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting young girls under the guise of grooming. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar during his sentencing: “I just signed your death warrant.”
  • Also in 2018, an Eaton County judge sentenced him to 40 to 125 years in prison for charges related to sexually abusing girls during alleged medical treatments.

More than 265 patients said Nassar victimized them, including U.S. national gymnastics team stars Maroney, Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Sabrina Vega, Ashton Locklear, Kyla Ross, Simone Biles and Alyssa Baumann.

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