Victims of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse demand $130 million from the FBI

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Sexual abuse can cause unthinkable emotional and physical harm to those victimized by predators. When law enforcement can stop a crime and fail to act in time, the harm is magnified. Thirteen women who accused Larry Nassar of sexual abuse are suing the FBI for mishandling its investigation into the disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor. The victims are asking for $130 million, split equally between the group, with each woman receiving $10 million. Nassar abused hundreds of girls and women over an 18-year career under the guise of medical treatment. He was sentenced to 175 years in prison in 2018.

A botched investigation into sexual abuse

In the years since Nassar’s abuse came to light, athletes have accused USA Gymnastics of covering up for the doctor and failing to thoroughly investigate the allegations against him. Last year, the organization reached a $380 million settlement with the survivors.

Michigan State University, where Nassar worked as a sports physician and abused student athletes, refused to release thousands of pages of records to Michigan’s attorney general last year. The school’s non-compliance ended an investigation into whether the university acted appropriately when alerted to Nassar’s behavior.

MSU is unfortunately not an anomaly. Schools of all sizes across the country are failing to protect brave students who have been sexually assaulted. In Louisiana, sexual abuse on campus is vastly underreported. In 2020, LSU officials reported five cases of sexual abuse on a campus of more than 34,000 students.

It is disappointing that non-governmental entities fail to protect the victims of sexual abuse. Yet this betrayal is amplified when the incompetence comes from a law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect the American people. A Justice Department Inspector General surveillance report highlights exactly how the FBI mishandled credible allegations against Larry Nassar.

USA Gymnastics reported several complaints about Nassar to the FBI in 2015, but the government did not review the case for eight months when USA Gymnastics notified another FBI field office. Nassar was not arrested until November 2016, 17 months after the initial report.

Asked about missteps in the investigation, two FBI officials lied to cover up their mistakes. And one of the officers involved was separately seeking employment with the Olympic Committee, which could be a significant conflict of interest. Other victims testified that FBI agents tried to tell them that their abuse was not as bad as they thought. Sexual abuse victims who sue the FBI say the agency’s inaction has helped to increase the number of victims. Victim advocates estimate that more than 100 girls and women were assaulted after July 2015, when USA Gymnastics first reported Nassar’s misconduct to the government.

Nassar’s survivors are not yet directly suing the FBI and have instead sought relief from the FBI under the Federal Tort Claims Act. This law allows people injured by government negligence or wrongful acts to receive compensation. If no solution is found, women have the option of taking legal action for personal injury.

Civil lawsuits for sexual abuse

Sexual assault is punishable by imprisonment in all states, but offenders rarely face serious consequences. According to some estimates, less than 1% of rapists will be convicted of a crime. Even when abusers are sent to prison, victims of sexual abuse face unforeseen expenses. Medical bills and the cost of psychological treatment can add up, and the pain and suffering experienced by victims can have a significant impact on their cost of living. Some victims of sexual abuse file civil suits seeking damages for these reasons. If an entity conceals sexual abuse, it could be found financially liable in court. In 2018, Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million to victims of Larry Nassar.

If you suffered sexual abuse at the hands of an institution that failed to properly investigate the crime, you have the right to hold them accountable. the Louisiana Sex Abuse Lawyers at Herman Herman & Katz advocate on behalf of all victims of sexual abuse and will fight for you in court. Contact us online or call 844-943-7626 for more information or a free, confidential case review.

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