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Justice Department settles with Larry Nassar victims for $138.7 million

The US Department of Justice and attorneys representing victims of convicted pedophile and former national women’s gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar announced a $138.7 Million settlement of on behalf of 139 victims in a case alleging failure and misconduct by FBI agents in the investigation of Nassar

The majority of the settlement was negotiated on behalf of the victims, including Olympic gold medalists, world champions and Team USA gymnasts by attorneys John Manly of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi , Stephen Drew of Drew, Cooper & Anding and Bart Dalton of Bart Dalton the victims. A neutral retired judge will decide the amount of compensation to individual victims.

This settlement will resolve the last remaining legal claims against the state and federal institutions who failed to protect more than 500 girls and women from Nassar and bring their total liability to almost $1 billion.

The Justice Department’s inspector general detailed multiple failings in the FBI’s handling of the gymnasts’ complaints, which were brought to the Indianapolis field office on July 28, 2015, by USA Gymnastics, following complaints by TEAM USA gymnasts Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman.

The lawsuit alleged that Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Jay Abbot colluded with former USAG president Steve Penny to impede the investigation and prevent public disclosure.

The report also says that the Indianapolis agents failed to transfer the Nassar allegations to the FBI’s resident agency in Lansing, Mich.—under the Detroit field office—the most likely place to investigate potential federal crimes that had been committed in the area, even after they had been advised by an Assistant U.S. Attorney to do so and they told USA Gymnastics that they had. 

Nor did the FBI contact state or local enforcement or take any other action to mitigate the risk to gymnasts that Nassar continued to treat. 

Nassar continued to see patients in his clinic at Michigan State University for almost 14 months after USA Gymnastics went to the FBI. During that time, it is alleged that he molested up to 100 girls and women. He was publicly accused of assault in the fall of 2016, and by early 2018 had been sentenced to an effective life sentence in prison on sexual abuse and child-pornography charges. 

Following the release of the Inspector General’s report in 2021, former members of the national gymnastics team described to the United Staes Senate Judiciary Committee how the F.B.I. had failed to stop Nassar’s abuse as the investigation stalled and the children suffered.

Their emotional testimony prompted an extraordinary apology from the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, who did not oversee the bureau when the investigation began. “I am sorry that so many people let you down over and over again, and I am especially sorry that there were people at the F.B.I. who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015.”

“We are grateful to Director Wray, Principal Deputy Attorney General Brian Boynton and the mediator, retired US District Judge Gregory Sleet for their hard work in bringing this sad chapter in history to a close. It took more than six years of tears, pain, and unrelenting effort by Nassar’s victims, including many of our nation’s most celebrated athletes to shine the bright light of justice on the horrific misconduct by senior officials in the FBI and demand accountability. Their heart wrenching testimony before the United States Senate captivated the nation and moved members of the Senate Judiciary committee to action. Director Wray’s sincere apology stands in stark contrast to the actions of his predecessor, James Comey who presided over this dark chapter in FBI history. His failure to acknowledge or offer any apology to the hundreds of Nassar’s victims is unforgivable and a discredit to the many fine men and women of the FBI,” said John Manly.

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