Over 90 survivors who claim they were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar, the former U.S.A. gymnastics doctor convicted on state sexual-abuse charges, are planning to file lawsuits against the FBI, the New York Times reports. The plaintiffs — including gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols, and Samantha Roy — are suing for over $1 billion in damages, alleging that the bureau failed to investigate Nassar even after receiving credible information about his crimes. The plaintiffs allege that they were abused during the period of bureau inaction. “If the FBI had simply done its job,” Roy wrote in a statement, “Nassar would have stopped before he ever had the chance to abuse hundreds of girls, including me.”
The lawsuits come two weeks after the Justice Department chose not to prosecute two FBI agents accused of fumbling their 2015 investigation into allegations against Nassar, who is currently serving a 175-year prison sentence after more than 500 girls and women accused him of sexually abusing them under the guise of medical treatment. According to a report issued by a Justice Department watchdog in 2021, the two agents received evidence of Nassar’s crimes in 2015 but neglected to take appropriate action, leaving Nassar to sexually assault at least 70 more athletes until his arrest by Michigan authorities a year later. The watchdog further accused the agents of making false statements to investigators to “minimize errors” they made during their handling of the allegations, as well as violating FBI policy, withholding information from relevant authorities, and mishandling witnesses’ interviews. Although the Justice Department acknowledged in their review that the agents had made false statements, they ultimately decided that prosecutors did not present enough evidence to levy criminal charges against them.
“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, and now the Department of Justice,” Maroney wrote in a statement. “It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process.”