Apr 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Sexual assault survivors file claims against FBI over mishandling of Larry Nassar investigation

picture of larry nassar
Larry Nassar is led from the courtroom after being sentenced by Judge Janice Cunningham to 40 to 125 years in prison for three counts of criminal sexual assault in Eaton County Circuit Court on February 5, 2018. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Thirteen sexual assault survivors abused by USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar have filed claims against the FBI totaling $130 million.

State of play: Lawyers for the survivors said the FBI failed "to properly investigate sexual abuse allegations" against Nassar. His victims as a result suffered "continued physical trauma and abuse, subsequent mental anguish, and emotional trauma," per the lawyers.

  • The names of the survivors who filed the claims were not revealed, but they each filed claims for $10 million.

The big picture: FBI director Christopher Wray back in September apologized to Nassar's victims after they testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and detailed how the FBI mishandled their reports.

  • The Justice Department released a report last summer highlighting the FBI's failures to properly investigate the allegations against Nassar, who is serving 40–175 years in prison for sexually abusing young athletes.

What they're saying: "We spend so much energy and resources encouraging children to come forward when they have been abused, so the fact that people came forward to the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world and were rebuffed — it's a slap in the face," said Jamie White, the attorney representing the victims.

  • "This is the largest failure on the part of law enforcement in the history of the world as it pertains to the protection of children, and there must be institutional accountability to make sure this doesn’t happen again."
  • The FBI said it does "not have a comment" on the matter.

What's next: The FBI has six months to respond to the claims. If the bureau does not reach a settlement within that timeframe, the women in the case can file a lawsuit in civil court.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a response from the FBI.

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