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Dept. of Justice reportedly reaches $100 million settlement with Nassar victims

The Department of Justice has reached a roughly $100 million settlement with victims who were abused by Larry Nassar after the FBI failed to properly investigate him, according to the Wall Street Journal.

An attorney and spokespeople with the Department of Justice declined to confirm or comment on Wednesday. But an individual with direct knowledge of the proposed settlement confirmed that it’s expected to be about $1 million per person, with some 100 people filing claims against the DOJ in 2022.

In 2021, the DOJ issued an extensive report about the FBI’s series of failures in the case. The FBI initially received complaints about Nassar in 2015, but “failed to respond to allegations of sexual abuse of athletes by former USA Gymnastics physician Lawrence Gerard Nassar with the urgency that the allegations required,” according to the report.

That inaction allowed Nassar to continue sexually abusing gymnasts and patients for just over a year, until he was arrested in 2016 by the Michigan State University police in a separate investigation.

“According to civil court documents, approximately 70 or more young athletes were allegedly sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment between July 2015, when the first complaint against Nassar was filed with the FBI Indianapolis Field Office, and August 2016, when the MSUPD received a separate complaint of sexual abuse by Nassar,” the report found.

FBI Director Christopher Wray publicly apologized to Nassar’s victims at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2021:

“I want to be crystal clear: The actions — and inaction — of the FBI employees detailed in this report are totally unacceptable. These individuals betrayed the core duty that they have of protecting people. They failed to protect young women and girls from abuse.”

In 2022, multiple attorneys filed a series of claims — called Federal Tort Action Claims — on behalf of more than 100 people, including Simone Biles and other USA Olympic gymnasts. “Most of the claimants consist of over 90 young women and girls who were abused after 2015 due to the FBI’s failure to take required steps to protect them,” the attorneys said in a statement issued in June 2022. “The amount of damages sought differs by claimant, but the total claims will exceed $1 billion.”

In 2018, Michigan State University reached a global settlement for $500 million with Nassar victims, including more than 300 individuals represented in the case.

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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