Former Olympic gymnasts, including gold medalist Simone Biles, are among dozens of assault victims seeking more than $1 billion from the FBI for failing to stop sports doctor Larry Nassar, reports the Associated Press. FBI agents knew in 2015 that Nassar was accused of molesting gymnasts, but they failed to act, leaving him free to continue to target young women and girls for more than a year. “It is time for the FBI to be held accountable,” said Maggie Nichols, an Oklahoma national champion gymnast in 2017-19. A government agency has six months to respond to tort claims such as those filed Wednesday. Lawsuits could follow, depending on the FBI’s response. The Justice Department said in May that it would not pursue criminal charges against ex-FBI agents who failed to open an investigation quickly. The 90 claimants include Olympic gold medalists Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, says Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, a California law firm.
“If the FBI had simply done its job, Nassar would have been stopped before he ever had the chance to abuse hundreds of girls, including me,” said former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy. Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics told FBI agents in 2015 that three gymnasts said they were assaulted by Nassar, a team doctor. The FBI did not open a formal investigation or inform federal or state authorities in Michigan, according to the DOJ inspector general. Nassar, who worked for Michigan State, wasn’t arrested until fall 2016. The Michigan attorney general’s office ultimately handled the assault charges against Nassar, while federal prosecutors filed a child pornography case. He is serving decades in prison. In 2021, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate hearing last year, “I’m 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’s inexcusable."