Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and dozens of other gymnasts sexually assaulted by Larry Nasser sue FBI for $1 billion
Lawyers for Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and hundreds of other women who claim Larry Nassar sexually assaulted them are demanding more than $1 billion in damages from the FBI for failing to stop the sports doctor when the agency first received claims against him. There’s no doubt that FBI agents were aware in 2015 that the now-imprisoned Nassar was accused of sexually assaulting gymnasts, yet they did nothing, allowing him to continue to prey on young women and girls for almost a year. He pleaded convicted in 2017 and is currently spending a lengthy sentence in prison.
“It is time for the FBI to be held accountable,” said Maggie Nichols, a national champion gymnast at Oklahoma in 2017-19.
A government entity has six months to react to the tort lawsuits filed on Wednesday under federal law. Depending on the FBI’s response, lawsuits may be filed. Biles, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney, all Olympic gold medalists, are among the approximately 90 claims, according to Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, a California law firm.
“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,” said former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy.
The FBI was contacted via email for comment. In 2015, USA Gymnastics alerted local FBI officers that three gymnasts claimed Nassar, the team doctor, molested them. According to the Justice Department’s inspector general, an internal watchdog, the FBI did not start a formal investigation or notify federal or state authorities in Michigan.
In 2016, FBI investigators in Los Angeles launched a sexual tourism investigation into Nassar, interviewing numerous victims but failing to notify Michigan authorities, according to the inspector general. Nassar wasn’t arrested until the fall of 2016 as part of a Michigan State University police investigation. He was a medical student at Michigan State University.
Nassar’s assault allegations were eventually handled by the Michigan attorney general’s office, while a child pornography case was launched by federal prosecutors in Grand Rapids, Michigan. FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted to substantial errors in his remarks to Congress last year.
“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,” Wray told victims at a Senate hearing.
At the same session, Biles, widely regarded as the best gymnast of all time, claimed that the abuse was permitted by an “entire system.” When Maroney told FBI agents about Nassar, she was met with “dead stillness.” In May, the Justice Department said that former agents accused of providing false or incomplete statements during the inspector general’s inquiry would not face criminal charges.
Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 women and girls who were sexually assaulted by Nassar. The university was also accused of missing numerous opportunities to stop Nassar over a long period of time. A $380 million settlement was reached between USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.