13 Larry Nassar survivors seek $130M from FBI over botched probe – National
13 victims of sexual assault by Larry Nassar is seeking $10 million each from the FBI, claiming that a sketchy investigation by agents led to more abuse by the sports doctor, lawyers said on Thursday.
It was an attempt to hold the government accountable for attacks that occurred after July 2015. The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that the FBI made fundamental errors when it learned of the allegations against back to Nassar that year.
Nassar is an athletic physician at Michigan State University as well as a physician at USA Gymnastics. He is serving decades in prison for assaulting female athletes, including an Olympic medalist gymnast.
“This is not a case involving counterfeit $20 bills or tax fraud,” said attorney Jamie White. “These are allegations of a serial rapist known by the FBI as a US Olympic doctor with the right to freely access young women.”
Nassar, he added, continued an “unnecessarily 17-month reign of terror.”
An email seeking comment was sent to the FBI.
White has yet to sue the FBI. Under federal law, requests for torture must be filed with a government agency, which then has six months to respond. A lawsuit is possible, depending on the FBI’s response.
Grace French, founder of a group called Army of Survivors, said: “No one should have been attacked after the summer of 2015 because the FBI should have done its job. “Knowing that the FBI could have helped me avoid this trauma.”
Victim statements impact Larry Nassar to his ‘most inner core’
White documented the 2018 massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The FBI received a tip about 5 weeks ago when 17 people were killed at the school, but it was never delivered to the FBI office in South Florida. The government has agreed to pay $127.5 million to the families of those killed or injured.
In the Nassar case, the Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics Company told local FBI agents in 2015 that three gymnasts said they had been assaulted by Nassar. But the FBI did not open a formal investigation or notify federal or state authorities in Michigan, according to the inspector general’s report.
Los Angeles FBI agents in 2016 began a sex tourism investigation against Nassar and interviewed several victims but also failed to notify Michigan authorities, the inspector general said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has publicly apologized for the way agents handled the matter.
“I’m sorry that so many people have let you down, time and time again,” he told victims at a Senate hearing last September. “And I am especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had the opportunity to stop this monster in 2015 but failed. And that’s inexcusable. It should never have happened.”
White said more than 100 women were assaulted after July 2015 and he hopes other attorneys will file lawsuits against the FBI. Nassar was not arrested until November 2016 during a Michigan State University police investigation.
The Michigan attorney general’s office eventually handled the assault charges, while federal prosecutors in Grand Rapids, Michigan, filed a child pornography case against Nassar.
Michigan State University, which also allegedly missed an opportunity to stop Nassar, agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 women and girls who were assaulted. USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee have settled for $380 million.
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