Simone Biles, other Larry Nassar victims sue FBI for $1B over botched response

Victims of convicted sex abuser Dr. Larry Nassar, including Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, filed a lawsuit for more than $1 billion in damages against the FBI Wednesday over its failure to investigate and prevent further assaults from happening.

In addition to Biles, the 90 claimants on the suit include her U.S. Olympic Gymnastics teammates McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman along with other gymnasts who fell victim to the doctor’s abuse. The athletes are being represented by the California law firm Manly, Stewart & Finaldi and the suit was filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act that permits seeking redress from the federal government following harmful negligence.

Maroney said in a statement obtained by Fox News: “My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us – the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, the FBI and now the Department of Justice. I had some hope that they would keep their word and hold the FBI accountable after we poured out our hearts to the US Senate Judiciary Committee and begged for justice. It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process.”

The gold medal Olympian had previously testified that “Not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said.”

(Video: KHOU 11)

Nassar was convicted of abusing the female athletes under the pretense of providing medical treatment and was sentenced to life in prison.

Maroney’s sentiments on the failure of the Justice Department and federal agencies were shared by her fellow claimants like Maggie Nichols, a national champion gymnast at Oklahoma, who expressed, “It is time for the FBI to be held accountable,” according to the Associated Press.

The University of Michigan’s Samantha Roy added, “If the FBI had simply done its job, Nassar would have been stopped before he ever had the chance to abuse hundreds of girls, including me.”

The Justice Department had also offered an indictment on the FBI’s failing in the investigation against the USA Gymnastics national team doctor in a 119-page report that drew attention to their errors and efforts to cover up their mistakes during the 14-month long investigation.

The Inspector General for the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz stated in the report, that the FBI “failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required.”

Furthermore, Indianapolis Field Office Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott was reamed for having “made materially false statements during his OIG interviews to minimize errors made by the Indianapolis Field Office in connection with the handling of the Nassar allegations.”

The FBI was alerted of Nassar’s assaults in 2015, but the doctor wasn’t arrested until the fall of 2016 as part of an investigation by police at Michigan State University where he worked. The university ultimately paid out $500 million to the over 300 girls and women victimized by Nassar. The AP also reported a $380 million settlement from USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Though not in charge of the FBI at the time of the investigation, director Chris Wray stated during congressional hearings, “I’m especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed. And that’s inexcusable.”

The agency has six months to respond to the tort claims and, depending on that response, future lawsuits could follow.


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