NewsUS government agrees to $138.7M settlement over FBI’s botching of Larry Nassar...

US government agrees to $138.7M settlement over FBI’s botching of Larry Nassar assault allegations

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When combined with other settlements, $1 billion now has been set aside by various organizations to compensate hundreds of women who said Nassar assaulted them under the guise of treatment for sports injuries.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, center left, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., attend a news conference with dozens of women and girls who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, center left, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., attend a news conference with dozens of women and girls who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a former doctor for Michigan State University athletics and USA Gymnastics, July 24, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

By ED WHITE, Associated Press

April 23, 2024 | 1:26 PM

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department announced a $138.7 million settlement Tuesday with more than 100 people who accused the FBI of grossly mishandling allegations of sexual assault against Larry Nassar in 2015 and 2016, a critical time gap that allowed the sports doctor to continue to prey on victims before his arrest.

When combined with other settlements, $1 billion now has been set aside by various organizations to compensate hundreds of women who said Nassar assaulted them under the guise of treatment for sports injuries.

Nassar worked at Michigan State University and also served as a team doctor at Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics. He’s now serving decades in prison for assaulting female athletes, including medal-winning Olympic gymnasts.

Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin Mizer said Nassar betrayed the trust of those in his care for decades, and that the “allegations should have been taken seriously from the outset.”

“While these settlements won’t undo the harm Nassar inflicted, our hope is that they will help give the victims of his crimes some of the critical support they need to continue healing,” Mizer said of the agreement to settle 139 claims.

The Justice Department has acknowledged that it failed to step in. For more than a year, FBI agents in Indianapolis and Los Angeles had knowledge of allegations against him but apparently took no action, an internal investigation found.

FBI Director Christopher Wray was contrite — and very blunt — when he spoke to survivors at a Senate hearing in 2021. The assault survivors include decorated Olympians Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

“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.”

After a search, investigators said in 2016 that they had found images of child sex abuse and followed up with federal charges against Nassar. Separately, the Michigan attorney general’s office handled the assault charges that ultimately shocked the sports world and led to an extraordinary dayslong sentencing hearing with gripping testimony about his crimes.

“I’m deeply grateful. Accountability with the Justice Department has been a long time in coming,” said Rachael Denhollander of Louisville,

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