US government agrees to $138.7M settlement over FBI’s botching of Larry Nassar assault allegations

DETROIT– The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday announced a $138.7 million settlement with more than 100 people who accused the FBI of grossly mishandling sex abuse allegations against Larry Nassar in 2015 and 2016. his arrest.

Combined with other settlements, $1 billion has now been set aside by several organizations to compensate hundreds of women who said Nassar attacked them under the guise of treatment for sports injuries.

Nassar worked at Michigan State University and also served as team physician at USA Gymnastics in Indianapolis. He has now spent decades in prison for assaulting female athletes, including medal-winning Olympic gymnasts.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer said Nassar betrayed the trust of those under his watch for decades, and that the “allegations should have been taken seriously from the beginning.”

“While these settlements will not undo the damage Nassar has caused, we hope they will provide the victims of his crimes with some of the critical support they need to continue the healing,” Mizer said of the agreement to 139 claims to settle.

The Justice Department has acknowledged that it failed to intervene. FBI agents in Indianapolis and Los Angeles were aware of the allegations against him for more than a year but apparently took no action, an internal investigation found.

FBI Director Christopher Wray was contrite – and very blunt – as he spoke to survivors at a Senate hearing in 2021. Survivors of the attack include decorated Olympians Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

“I’m sorry that so many different people have let you down over and over again,” Wray said. “And I’m especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own shot at stopping this monster in 2015 and failed.”

After a search, investigators in 2016 said they found child sex abuse images and pursued federal charges against Nassar. In addition, the Michigan Attorney General’s office handled the assault charges that ultimately shocked the sports world and led to an extraordinary days-long sentencing hearing that featured harrowing testimony about his crimes.

“I am deeply grateful. Accountability at the Department of Justice is long overdue,” said Rachael Denhollander of Louisville, Kentucky, who is not part of the latest settlement but was the first person to publicly come forward and accuse the abuse described in detail by Nassar.

“The unfortunate reality is that what we see today is something that most survivors never see,” Denhollander told The Associated Press. “Most survivors never see responsibility. Most survivors never see justice. Most survivors never receive restitution.”

Michigan State University, which was also accused of missing opportunities for years to stop Nassar, agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 women and girls who were attacked. USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have reached a $380 million settlement.

Mick Grewal, a lawyer who represented 44 people in claims against the government, said the $1 billion in total settlements speaks to “the travesty that took place.”


Associated Press reporters Mike Householder in Detroit; Dylan Lovan in Louisville, Kentucky; and Alanna Durkin Richer in Washington, DC, contributed to this story.


For more updates on the cases against Larry Nasser: