A group of former Olympic gymnasts, including gold medalist Simone Biles, is seeking more than a billion dollars from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its failure to stop disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar from molesting them.
According to The Associated Press, these women are among the nearly 100 assault victims who have given notice to the FBI. .
It has been reported that FBI agents in 2015 had knowledge of Nassar being accused of molesting gymnasts, but did nothing about it, leaving him free to target young women and girls for more than a year.
The approximately 90 claimants include Biles, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney, who have all won gold medals at the Olympics. There was a separate lawsuit filed earlier this year where 13 victims asked for a total of $130 million.
“It is time for the FBI to be held accountable,” said Maggie Nichols, a national champion gymnast who attended Oklahoma between 2017-19.
Gymnasts Kaylee Lorincz and Hannah Morrow are each requesting $42.5 million. Lawyers have stated that most of the 90 women are asking for $10 million each; the sum for payouts would be in the $1 billion to $1.2 billion range.
Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, claimants have to give notice to the FBI before a lawsuit is filed in federal court. They then have six months to either agree to a settlement or deny the claim before the lawsuit can be brought.
In the notice of the Federal Tort Act claims, attorneys for the gymnasts say the FBI had credible complaints from a number of victims by July 2015. They neglected to interview the victims or properly investigate the abuse.
“FBI officials, who possessed this knowledge and were in a position to end Nassar’s predation, were grossly derelict in their duties resulting in Nassar sexually assaulting approximately 100 young women and children between July 28, 2015 and September 12, 2016, and conspired with the highest-ranking officials within the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, Inc to conceal this known sexual abuse from foreseeable victims,” the claims state.
“The FBI was grossly derelict in their duties by declining to interview gymnasts who were willing to talk about the abuse, failing to transfer the complaint to Lansing, Michigan, where Nassar was continuing to abuse girls, ignoring its obligation to report child abuse to relevant state and federal agencies and lying to Congress, the media, and FBI headquarters about their lack of diligence in investigating the Nassar complaint,” attorneys said in a statement.
“As a result, Nassar continued his predatory behavior, sexually assaulting approximately 90 young women and children between July 28, 2015, and September 12, 2016.”