Justice Department agrees to $138.7M settlement over Larry Nassar allegations

Larry Nassar stands in court

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced that it has agreed to settle nearly 140 claims related to allegations of sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics official Larry Nassar for $138.7 million.

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Nassar abused hundreds of women and girls under the guise of performing medical treatments beginning in the 1990s, authorities said. In a report released in 2021, officials with the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General said that senior officials in the FBI’s Indiana field office learned of the abuse in July 2015 but failed to take the allegations seriously.

The settlement announced Tuesday will resolve claims against the U.S. alleging that the FBI failed to adequately investigate Nassar’s conduct. It will resolve 139 claims, officials said.

“For decades, Lawrence Nassar abused his position, betraying the trust of those under his care and medical supervision while skirting accountability,” acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said Tuesday in a statement. “These 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.”

Nassar’s victims included elite gymnasts like Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman. The Olympic gold medalists testified before Congress in 2021 about failures in the FBI’s investigation.

“We suffered and continue to suffer because no one at the FBI, (USA Gymnastics) or the (United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee) did what was necessary to protect us,” Biles said in emotional testimony. She said officials turned “a blind eye” to the abuse.

Maroney, who was interviewed weeks after the FBI learned of the allegations against Nassar, said that investigators failed to take her seriously.

“By not taking immediate action from my report, they allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year, and this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue,” she said. “They had legal, legitimate evidence of child abuse and did nothing.”

Nassar admitted to sexually abusing hundreds of athletes while working at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics from 1996 to 2016. He also pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.

In 2017, he was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison and as many as 175 years in Michigan state prison. In February 2018, he pleaded guilty to additional criminal sexual conduct charges and got an additional prison sentence of up to 125 years.