Explained: Why Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse victims are seeking $1 billion-plus from FBI-Sports News , Firstpost

Larry Nassar, a doctor with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, employed him for years with sexual abuse of women and girls lasting at least 14 years.

Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, stands in court during his sentencing hearing in the Eaton County Court in Charlotte, Michigan. Reuters file photo

US Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles and dozens of other women who say they were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar are seeking more than $1 billion from the FBI for failing to stop the sports doctor when the agency first received allegations against him.

The approximately 90 claimants include Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, all Olympic gold medalists. Separately, 13 claims were filed by others in April.

Nassar, a doctor with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, employed him for years with the abuse lasting at least 14 years. Victims of his sexual abuse came from different age group and were global: girls in London at the 2012 Olympics, at the USA Gymnastics’ training centre in Texas; at gymnastics meets in Rotterdam.

What was the initial case against Larry Nassar?

In 2016, the Indianapolis Star ran an expose, over a nine month period, on how USA Gymnastics failed to protect young athletes from sexual abuse in a systematic failure of the organisation. It opened the floodgates with more than 265 women accusing Nassar of sexually assaulting them. It is considered the largest sexual abuse scandal – even dwarfing that of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby combined.

What have been the verdicts in the Nassar case?

In July 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison in December.

In November 2017, he pleaded guilty to seven charges of first-degree sexual assault and entered another guilty plea to three additional charges of sexual assault.

In January 2018, Nassar was sentenced to an additional 40 to 175 years in prison, set to run after Nassar serves his 60-year federal prison sentence for child pornography.

In February 2018, Nassar received another 40 to 125 years.

He is being held at the US Penitentiary, Coleman a high-security prison in Florida.

Michigan State University, which was accused of missing opportunities over many years to stop Nassar, agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 women and girls who were assaulted by him.

USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee made a $380 million settlement.

How do FBI enter the picture?

USA Gymnastics told local agents in 2015 that three gymnasts said they were assaulted by Nassar.

Instead of acting on it, FBI did not open a formal investigation or inform federal or state authorities in Michigan, as per the Justice Department’s inspector general, an internal watchdog.

Then in 2016, agents in Los Angeles began an investigation against Nassar and interviewed several victims but also failed to alert Michigan authorities, the inspector general said.

Nassar wasn’t arrested until fall in 2016 during an investigation by police at Michigan State University.

“It is time for the FBI to be held accountable,” said Maggie Nichols, a national champion gymnast at Oklahoma in 2017-19.

“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.

How have FBI responded amid investigation and lawsuits?

On Wednesday, FBI declined to comment referring instead to remarks last year by FBI Director Christopher Wray, who acknowledged major mistakes.

“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,” Wray told victims at a Senate hearing.

Matthew Schneider, a former US attorney, believes it’s practically a certainty that the government will settle the claims by Nassar victims.

Under US federal law, a government agency has six months to respond to the claims. Lawsuits could follow, depending on the FBI’s response.

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