Over 90 women filed lawsuits — to the tune of roughly $1 billion — against the FBI for the department’s handling of their investigation into Lawrence Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics doctor who was convicted on state sexual abuse charges, The New York Times reported.
The group of women who say they were sexually assaulted by Nassar and are plaintiffs in the suits include Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, according to The Associated Press.
It is public knowledge that the FBI mishandled its investigation into Nassar, according to The Associated Press. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released a report after a review of the FBI’s investigation into allegations made against Nassar.
“The OIG found that senior officials in the FBI Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to the Lawrence Gerard Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that the allegations deserved and required,” the OIG’s conclusion read.
Attorneys for the victims stated that the FBI’s botched investigation enabled Nassar to continue sexually abusing his victims for nearly a year after the FBI had been notified, according to CNN. “Nassar continued his predatory behavior, sexually assaulting approximately 90 young women and children between July 28, 2015, and September 12, 2016,” the victims’ attorneys said in a statement.
The lawsuits were filed roughly two weeks after the Justice Department announced that two FBI agents would not face prosecution for their part in the investigation into Nassar, per The New York Times.
Many victims of Nassar are speaking out, including world champion Maggie Nichols.
“The FBI knew that Larry Nassar was a danger to children when his abuse of me was first reported in September of 2015,” Nichols said in a statement, ABC News reported. “For 421 days they worked with USA Gymnastics and USOPC to hide this information from the public and allowed Nassar to continue molesting young women and girls. It is time for the FBI to be held accountable.”
Nassar has not been charged for the abuse allegations brought forward by the well-known gymnasts, since the statute of limitations has expired for many of the cases; however, he is currently serving a 60-year sentence after pleading guilty to child pornography charges, per NBC News.