Gymnasts and other victims of sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of multiple counts of sexually assaulting minors, as well as other charges, said they plan to file a series of lawsuits on Wednesday in tort against the Justice Department and the FBI seeking a collective total of approximately $1 billion, according to their legal team.
“The FBI knew Larry Nassar was a danger to children when his abuse of me was first reported in September 2015,” said gymnast Maggie Nichols, a member of Team USA and NCAA national champion, in a press release. “For 421 days they worked with USA Gymnastics and USOPC to hide this information from the public and allowed Nassar to continue to assault young women and girls. It’s time the FBI was held accountable.”
The contenders include some of America’s most famous Olympic and Team USA gymnasts, including Nichols, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney. That group includes former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy and former gymnast and victims’ advocate Kaylee Lorincz.
The amount of damages sought differs depending on the plaintiff, but the total claims could exceed $1 billion, according to a group of Manly Stewart lawyers & Finaldi, Pitt McGehee Palmer Bonanni & Rivers, Grewal Law and Drew, Cooper & Anding, and Gruel Mills, the firms representing the clients.
Hundreds of young women and girls have come forward to accuse Nassar, a former US national gymnastics team doctor, of inappropriate or criminal behavior. Nassar pleaded guilty in 2017 to crimes against multiple victims and was sentenced to 60 years behind bars for child pornography and other charges. He pleaded guilty again in 2018 and received an additional sentence of 40 to 175 years for several counts of sexual assault of minors.
During a congressional hearing in September, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed outrage and sadness for the victims of Nassar’s abuse and FBI inaction.
A Justice Department inspector general’s report found that the FBI had been made aware of Nassar’s behavior, but had not acted for over a year.
“I’m sorry for what you and your families have been through,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I’m sorry that so many different people let you down, over and over again. And I’m especially sorry that there were people in the FBI who had their own shot at stopping this monster in 2015 and failed. .”
Wray said the allegations happened before he was manager, but he was doing everything in his power to make sure it didn’t happen again.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.