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FBI Facing $1 Billion Lawsuit Over Gymnastics Scandal

09/06/22

- Grant Whittington

It’s the biggest lawsuit to have hit the sporting world in the last few years. Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles and a group of women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, are seeking damages to the tune of $1 billion from the FBI. The women want damages as a result of the policing authority’s failure to stop the physician from practising when the allegations against him first surfaced.

FBI agents already back in 2015 became aware of the accusations of assault against Nassar. They however failed to act immediately, leaving him free to continue his reign of terror for over a year.

Nassar eventually pleaded guilty to several counts of assault in 2017 and is now spending a lengthy time behind bars.

Government Must Give Account

According to Maggie Nichols, national gymnastics champion from Oklahoma, the time has come for the authorities to be held accountable for their failure to act.

According to US federal laws, the government agency now has six months to act on the claims filed earlier this week. The FBI’s response will determine whether subsequent lawsuits will follow.

The group is made up of roughly 90 claimants, including Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman. According to former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy, Nassar would have been stopped in his tracks had the FBI acted in the way that it should have. She said the abuse of hundreds of girls could have been avoided, including herself.

USA Gymnastics reportedly informed the FBI of the abuse of at least three girls in 2015. But according to the Justice Department’s inspector general, who acts as a national watchdog, the FBI failed to open a formal investigation against the team doctor.

FBI Boss Admits Mistake

Since the FBI had failed to act in a timeous manner, the Michigan attorney general’s office eventually handled the assault claims against Nassar. Also filed had been a child pornography case.

During an appearance before Congress in 2021, FBI director Christopher Wray conceded to the fact that “major mistakes” had been made. During a Senate hearing, he apologised to the many victims, and added that the FBI’s failure to act was nothing short of regrettable and inexcusable.

At that same hearing, Biles reportedly said that the way the system worked had enabled the abuse to continue for years.

But in May last year, the US justice department declared that it would not be pursuing criminal charges against the former agents involved.

In the meantime, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee had reached a $380 million settlement with those affected by Nassar’s actions.

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