If you followed any part of Larry Nassar’s trial, you know just how much law enforcement failed the girls and women of US Gymnastics. Even if you’ve just read Simone Biles’s interviews or listened to some of McKayla Maroney’s statements or watched Aly Raisman’s public testimony, you know that Nassar was a monster and serial predator who was well-known to federal and local authorities for more than a year before his arrest. The FBI had credible information about Nassar’s crimes in 2015 and they did nothing while Nassar continued to abuse gymnasts, many of them children. Now the women of US Gymnastics are suing the FBI. Good for them.
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and dozens of other women who say they were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar are seeking more than $1 billion from the FBI for failing to stop the now convicted sports doctor when the agency first received allegations against him, lawyers said Wednesday. There’s no dispute that FBI agents in 2015 knew that Nassar was accused of assaulting gymnasts, but they failed to act, leaving him free to continue to target young women and girls for more than a year.
“It is time for the FBI to be held accountable,” said Maggie Nichols, a national champion gymnast at Oklahoma in 2017-19.
Under federal law, a government agency has six months to respond to the tort claims filed Wednesday. Lawsuits could follow, depending on the FBI’s response. The approximately 90 claimants include Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, all Olympic gold medalists, according to Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, a California law firm.
“If the FBI had simply done its job, Nassar would have been stopped before he ever had the chance to abuse hundreds of girls, including me,” said former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy. An email seeking comment was sent to the FBI.
Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics told local FBI agents in 2015 that three gymnasts said they were assaulted by Nassar, a team doctor. But the FBI did not open a formal investigation or inform federal or state authorities in Michigan, according to the Justice Department’s inspector general, an internal watchdog.
Now, do I think that this will go to trial or even be settled out of court? Not really. The FBI sits on their hands all the time while crimes are being committed, and in Nassar’s case, the authorities at every level failed to do their jobs and protect these girls. US Gymnastics failed to protect them too, which is why gymnasts like Biles, Raisman and Maroney have continued to hold US Gymnastics’ bureaucracy to count. It’s absolutely a fascinating move though, and I’m so happy that these women are still on the warpath, fighting for justice.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.