Simone Biles and Dozens of Nassar Victims Are Suing the FBI for $1 Billion

“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us,” said Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney.
US Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI handling of the investigation into Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of athletes, September 15, 2021 (SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
US Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI handling of the investigation into Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of athletes, September 15, 2021 (SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Dozens of victims of convicted sex predator Larry Nassar are filing lawsuits against the Federal Bureau of Investigation for failing to adequately investigate his crimes in 2015, giving the former USA Gymnastics team doctor an entire year to continue abusing people before he was finally arrested. 

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More than 90 survivors, including Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman, were planning on filing lawsuits Wednesday seeking more than $1 billion in total, their lawyer said in a statement to the New York Times

“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us—the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Gymnastics, the F.B.I. and now the Department of Justice,” Maroney said in a statement, according to the Times

Nassar abused hundreds of young women and girls over the course of two decades, much of which he spent as the national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics. He was convicted and sentenced to 175 years in prison in 2018. 

A 2021 report by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General found that the FBI’s delay allowed Nassar to abuse more than 70 victims in the 13 months between USA Gymnastics reporting Nassar to the FBI and a victim filing a complaint with Michigan State University police. 

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“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,” former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy said in a statement, according to NPR.

The report also found that W. Jay Abbott, the former special agent in charge of the Indianapolis field office, which interviewed victims in 2015, lied to investigators when he told them he had contacted counterparts in Detroit and Los Angeles about the allegations, in order to “minimize errors made by the Indianapolis Field Office in connection with the handling of the Nassar allegations.” Abbott also met with then-USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny and discussed a potential job with the U.S. Olympic Committee, the report found. 

Despite this, the Justice Department declined last month to prosecute Abbott and former Supervisory Special Agent Michael Langeman. Abbott retired in 2018, and Langeman was fired after the Inspector General’s report was released last year

“While the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General has outlined serious concerns about the former agents’ conduct during the Nassar investigation, and also described how evidence shows that during interviews in the years after the events in question, both former agents appear to have provided inaccurate or incomplete information to investigators, the Principles of Federal Prosecution require more to bring a federal criminal case,” the Justice Department said in a statement

Maroney, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year that she was “molested hundreds of times in my bed” and that the FBI’s inaction “directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue,” said in her statement Wednesday: “It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process.”

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