Jun 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Sexual assault survivors seek $1B from FBI over failure to investigate Nassar allegations

U.S. Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and NCAA and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols leave after testifying during a Senate Judiciary hearing

Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols after a Senate Judiciary hearing in September 2021. Photo: Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

More than 90 women who were abused by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar will file administrative tort claims against the FBI on Wednesday over the bureau's failure to properly investigate the sexual assault allegations against him.

Why it matters: The action comes just two weeks after the Justice Department announced that it had once again declined to charge the FBI agents accused of mishandling the case.

The big picture: Gymnasts, including McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, are collectively seeking more than $1 billion in damages.

  • “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 Wednesday, per the New York Times.
  • “It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process,” she added.

State of play: Nassar was sentenced to 40–175 years in prison in 2018 after 160 women accused him of sexually abusing them under the pretense of medical treatment.

  • Last summer, the FBI's inspector general issued a scathing report highlighting the "numerous and fundamental errors" in how the bureau handled its investigation into Nassar.
  • In September, FBI Director Christopher Wray formally apologized to survivors for the agency's mishandling of the investigation.
  • Last month, 13 sexual assault survivors abused by Nassar filed claims against the FBI totaling $130 million over its mishandling of the case.
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