Justice Department Agrees to Substantial Settlement

The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that it will pay $138.7 million to 139 survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse. This settlement comes in response to the FBI’s mishandling of the initial allegations against the former U.S. women’s national gymnastics team doctor and Michigan State employee.

5 Key Points:

  1. The settlement will distribute roughly $1 million per claimant, on average.
  2. The DOJ acknowledged that the FBI failed to take allegations seriously and respond with urgency in 2015.
  3. Olympic champions Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman were among the claimants.
  4. Nassar was found to have sexually assaulted more than 500 women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.
  5. The settlement brings the combined liability payouts in legal cases brought by Nassar’s victims to over $1 billion.

FBI’s Failure to Act Promptly

The settlement follows a report by the Department of Justice’s inspector general, which revealed that FBI officials in Indianapolis did not respond to allegations of abuse involving Nassar “with the utmost seriousness and urgency” in 2015. This delay allowed the abuse to continue, with devastating consequences for the victims.

Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin Mizer acknowledged the FBI’s failings, stating, “These allegations should have been taken seriously from the outset. While these settlements won’t undo the harm Nassar inflicted, we hope that they will help give the victims of his crimes some of the critical support they need to continue healing.”

Survivors Represented by Diverse Legal Teams

A large and diverse group of attorneys represents the 139 claimants who filed administrative claims with the Justice Department. Four of these attorneys, representing 77 of the claimants, described the settlement as “monumental” in a joint statement.

“We are proud to have achieved a monumental settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice that not only secures the recovery the survivors deserve but also holds the DOJ and FBI accountable for their failures,” the attorneys stated. “We hope this serves as a lesson for federal law enforcement and they make the changes necessary to prevent anything like this from happening again.”

Nassar’s Widespread Abuse and Lifetime Sentence

Larry Nassar, who served as the U.S. women’s national gymnastics team doctor and was employed by Michigan State University, was found to have sexually assaulted more than 500 women and girls under the guise of providing medical treatment. He is currently serving what amounts to a lifetime prison sentence on sexual assault and child pornography charges.

Combined Liability Payouts Surpass $1 Billion

The DOJ settlement brings the total combined liability payouts in legal cases brought by Nassar’s victims to more than $1 billion. Before this settlement, Michigan State University agreed to distribute $500 million to survivors, while USA Gymnastics reached a separate settlement worth $380 million.

The substantial settlements serve as an acknowledgment of the immense harm caused by Nassar’s abuse and the failure of institutions to protect the victims. While no amount of money can erase the trauma endured by the survivors, the settlements provide critical support for their ongoing healing process and serve as a reminder of the importance of swift and decisive action in response to allegations of sexual abuse.