DOJ reaches $138.7 million settlement with Larry Nassar victims

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached a $138.7 million settlement with the more than 100 assault survivors of disgraced Olympic Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar over allegations the department failed to investigate sexual assault accusations against him.

The settlement, announced Tuesday by the DOJ, resolves the 139 administrative claims against the FBI alleging the agency inadequately probed Nassar’s sexual abuse spanning nearly two decades.

The agreement marks the end to the final major legal case related to the former doctor, who is serving decades in prison for assaulting female athletes — including Olympic gymnasts, under the guise of performing medical treatments. Nassar, 60, previously worked at Michigan State University and was a team doctor at USA Gymnastics, based in Indianapolis.

“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 in a statement Tuesday. “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,” Mizer added.

The FBI previously acknowledged its mishandling of the 2015 and 2016 investigation into Nassar, a year that allowed the doctor to continue targeting victims before his 2016 arrest.

FBI Director Christopher Wray apologized during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2021, telling U.S. gymnasts McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols he was “sorry that so many people let you down over and over again.”

“And I am especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable, it never should have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again,” Wray said at the time.

The hearing was part of an effort to hold the FBI accountable after the Office of Inspector General released a report in July 2021 finding that the FBI made errors and did not treat the case with the “utmost seriousness.”

Michigan State University, which was also accused of failing to stop Nassar over many years, agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 women and girls who were assaulted, The Associated Press (AP) reported. USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee made a $380 million settlement, the news wire added.

Tuesday’s settlement brings the combined compensation for victims to nearly $1 billion, per the AP.

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