More than 90 women who have reported being sexually assaulted by former US Gymnastics Federation doctor Larry Nassar file a lawsuit against the FBI on Wednesday for having acted negligently during the investigation that followed the first accusations against him. , reports New York Times. Nassar, who abused more than 330 young people, is serving a sentence of between 40 and 175 years in addition to another 60 years for child pornography, a de facto life sentence.
Simone Biles, on the abuse of US gymnasts: “I don’t want more athletes to suffer the horror I experienced”
The plaintiffs include gymnastics Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, as well as former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy and former gymnast Kaylee Lorincz, who now works as an advocate for victims of sexual assault. Another 13 victims had filed other complaints against the FBI in April, reports AP.
“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by all the institutions that were supposed to protect us: the United States Olympic Committee, the US Gymnastics Federation, the FBI and now the Department of Justice,” Maroney said in a statement. statement, quoted by the NYT. “It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is the legal process,” she added.
The FBI admits “major errors”
FBI Director Christopher Wray last year acknowledged major flaws in the Nassar investigation. “I am especially sorry that there were people in the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed. And that is inexcusable,” Wray told the victims at a US Senate hearing.
The gymnastics federation headquarters in Indianapolis told local officials in 2015 that three gymnasts said they were assaulted by Nassar, the team doctor. But the FBI did not open a formal investigation or inform Michigan state or federal authorities, according to the report by the Justice Department’s inspector general, an internal watchdog. The report, published in 2021, noted that the federal agency mishandled witness interviews and failed to share credible information about the abuse with relevant authorities. After the abuse was reported, between July 2015 and August 2016, when Nassar was arrested, at least 70 athletes were sexually abused by the doctor, according to the inspector general.
However, two weeks ago the Department of Justice announced that he would not press criminal charges against former officers who were accused of giving inaccurate or incomplete answers during the inspector general’s investigation.
“If the FBI had just done their job, Nassar would have been arrested before he had a chance to abuse hundreds of girls, including me,” says former gymnast Samantha Roy, in a statement picked up by NYT.
Now, the plaintiffs are asking the FBI for different amounts of money in damages. In total, the claims will exceed one billion dollars, as confirmed by his lawyer, John C. Manly.
Last December, hundreds of American gymnasts who suffered abuses by Nassar reached a legal agreement worth 380 million dollars with the federation and the US Olympic committee. The agreement took three years to reach, a period of time in which some of the best-known gymnasts openly criticized the federation and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee in interviews, social networks and even in a session before the Senate of the country.
“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame the entire system that allowed and perpetrated that abuse. The gymnastics federation and the American Olympic and Paralympic Committee knew that he was suffering from abuse by the official team doctor,” Biles told the US Senate judiciary committee months earlier.