Thirteen women sexually assaulted by former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar are suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation for $10 million after the agency covered up the scandal in 2015.
Although the FBI was alerted to Nassar’s perpetration of sexual abuse in 2015, the agency didn’t investigate for eight months. During this period, Nassar assaulted more women and minor children under the pretense of medical care.
A 119-page Department of Justice (DOJ) report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a waste watchdog, identified multiple agency mistakes.
For example, the report found the Indianapolis Field Office didn’t document the 2015 victim interview about Nassar’s criminal sexual assaults until 17 months later. Moreover, the FBI report included “materially false information and omitted material information.”
The DOJ found that one FBI agent, “in an effort to minimize or excuse his errors, made false statements during two OIG-compelled interviews regarding his interview of one of Nassar’s victims.” Another agent lied to cover mistakes.
The lawsuit, for which the victims aren’t named, is filed under The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), which aims to compensate individuals who have suffered personal injury, death, or property loss or damage caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the federal government.
In this case, the negligent party named is the FBI.
In September 2021, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress about the scandal: “I want to be crystal clear: The actions – and inaction – of the FBI employees detailed in this report are totally unacceptable,” Wray said. “These individuals betrayed the core duty that they have of protecting people. They failed to protect young women and girls from abuse.”
Nassar was employed as an osteopathic physician and associate professor at Michigan State University’s (MSU) Department of Family and Community Medicine, where he treated patients from 1996 through 2016.
“I’m sorry that so many different people let you down, over and over again,” Wray said. “And 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. It never should have happened.”
Nassar was arrested and charged in November 2016 with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. He’s serving a 60-year prison sentence.