Nassar Victims Sue FBI for Early Investigation Failures

WASHINGTON — More than 90 women who say they were sexually assaulted by Lawrence G. Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics physician convicted of state sexual abuse allegations, planned to file lawsuits against the FBI on Wednesday for the did not investigate him when it got credible information about his crimes.

The lawsuits come two weeks after the Department of Justice decided not to prosecute two former FBI agents accused of botching the agency’s 2015 investigation into Nassar, allowing him to assault girls for more than a year before authorities of the United States were arrested. Michigan arrested him. The officers were accused by the Justice Department’s own watchdog of making false statements about the case.

The plaintiffs include Olympic gymnastics winners Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney and National Gymnastics Medalist Maggie Nichols, as well as former gymnast Samantha Roy of the University of Michigan and former gymnast Kaylee Lorincz, who now works as an advocate for sexual victims of abuse.

“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every agency that was supposed to protect us — the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S. Gymnastics, the FBI and now the Justice Department,” Ms. Maroney said in a statement. “Clearly, the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process,” she added.

The plaintiffs are seeking various amounts of damages, but their aggregate claims will exceed $1 billion, their attorney, John C. Manly, said in a statement.

Nassar, who was sentenced to 175 years in prison, was charged with molesting hundreds of girls and women, including many members of the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic women’s gymnastics teams.

The FBI field office in Indianapolis received evidence of his crimes in 2015. Officers interviewed gymnasts, including Ms. Maroney, who gave detailed testimony. Ultimately, they took no action to ramp up the investigation or stop Mr. Nassar.

The Justice Department inspector general later accused W. Jay Abbott, who was in charge of the Indianapolis field office, and Michael Langeman, an agent in that office, of making false statements to investigators investigating their actions.

In a report released last summer, the inspector general said Mr. Abbott was making false statements “to minimize errors made by the Indianapolis field office in handling the Nassar allegations.”

He also said that Mr. Abbott spoke to USA Gymnastics about potential job openings as he asked the organization about the allegations against Mr. Nassar, actions contrary to FBI policy.

Credit…Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal, via AP

The Inspector General’s report states that the FBI mishandled the witness interviews and failed to share credible information about abuse with the relevant authorities.

It also found that 70 or more athletes were sexually assaulted by Mr. Nassar between July 2015, when USA Gymnastics first charged Mr. Nassar reported to the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis, and August 2016, when the Michigan State University Police Department received a separate report. complaint.

The women who are suing the FBI say they were abused during this time.

“If the FBI had just done its job, Nassar would have stopped before he ever had the chance to abuse hundreds of girls, including me,” Ms Roy said in a statement.

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