Larry Nassar’s victims reach $138.7M settlement over FBI’s mishandling of sexual abuse investigation

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Larry Nassar’s victims reach $138.7M settlement over FBI’s mishandling of sexual abuse investigation

The Department of Justice reached a $138.7 million settlement Tuesday with the victims of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar over the FBI’s initial failure to adequately investigate sexual abuse allegations against him.

“For decades, Lawrence Nassar abused his position, betraying the trust of those under his care and medical supervision while skirting accountability,” acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said in a statement. “These allegations should have been taken seriously from the outset. While these settlements won’t undo the harm Nassar inflicted, our hope is that they will help give the victims of his crimes some of the critical support they need to continue healing.”

The DOJ said the settlement agreement resolves 139 claims against the FBI and the money will be distributed to the claimants.

Nassar sexually abused over 300 female gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment, and more than 150 women and girls spoke out publicly against him. The disgraced sports doctor pleaded guilty in 2018 to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. The year prior, he was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges.

In June 2022, Nassar had a final appeal rejected by the Michigan Supreme Court.

USA Gymnastics, which is based in Indianapolis, first brought allegations against Nassar to the FBI’s Indianapolis field office in July 2015. Nassar continued treating athletes at Michigan State University, a Michigan high school and a Michigan gymnastics club until MSU police searched his home in September 2016.

In 2018, the Justice Department launched an investigation into the FBI’s handling of allegations made against Nassar in 2015 and 2016. A 119-page report, made public in 2021 at the request of Nassar’s victims, revealed the FBI failed to conduct interviews promptly with gymnasts who alleged Nassar sexually abused them.

In the report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the FBI’s Indianapolis field office made “fundamental errors” by failing to notify other FBI offices or state or local authorities about the allegations against Nassar. The report also said the field office “provided incomplete and inaccurate information to make it appear that they had been diligent in responding to the sexual abuse allegations.”

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(Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images)