August 15, 2022

More than 90 women and girls – including Olympic stars Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman – filed tort claims Wednesday against the FBI seeking more than $1 billion in damages for failing to stop sexual abuse by sicko sports doctor Larry Nassar.

The claimants also include Maggie Nichols, a former national champion gymnast at Oklahoma who along with Biles, Maroney and Raisman first reported Nassar’s abuse in 2015, according to California law firm Manly, Stewart & Finaldi.

The FBI received “credible complaints” from numerous sources in July 2015, allowing them to “immediately end” Nassar’s rampant abuse, but the agency declined to interview gymnasts who wanted to meet with agents, the law firm said in a statement Wednesday.

By failing to transfer the complaints to Lansing, Michigan, where Nassar continued to abuse young girls, the now-convicted sexual abuser was able to continue his “predatory behavior” and assault roughly 90 young women and girls between July 2015 and September 2016, attorneys claim.

“The FBI knew that Larry Nassar was a danger to children when his abuse of me was first reported in September of 2015,” Nichols said in a statement Wednesday. “For 421 days they worked with USA Gymnastics and USOPC to hide this information from the public and allowed Nassar to continue molesting young women and girls. It is time for the FBI to be held accountable.”

FBI agents in 2015 knew that Larry Nassar was accused of molesting gymnasts, but they failed to act.
Paul Sancya/AP

Maroney, who won a gold medal as part of the Team USA in 2012, said she and other survivors were “betrayed by every institution” tasked to protect them, including the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, the FBI and the Department of Justice.

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“I had some hope that they would keep their word and hold the FBI accountable after we poured out our hearts to the US Senate Judiciary Committee and begged for justice,” Maroney said in a statement. “It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process.”

In May, the Justice Department announced it would not seek criminal charges against former FBI agents accused of giving inaccurate or incomplete responses during a probe by its inspector general.

Director of the FBI Christopher Wray and Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testify on the FBI's Handling of  the Larry Nassar investigation.
Director of the FBI Christopher Wray and Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testify on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar investigation.
Shawn Thew/EPA
FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“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,” Christopher Wray told the victims.
Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP

Nassar, a former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor, was arrested in fall 2016 during an investigation by Michigan State University police. The Michigan attorney general’s office handled assault charges against him while federal prosecutors filed a child pornography case.

Nassar, 58, pleaded guilty in January 2018 to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct involving hundreds of female athletes. He was later sentenced to 40 to 175 years on sex assault charges, as well as 60 years for child pornography.

The attorneys, led by John Manly, noted that FBI director Christopher Wray acknowledged mistakes were made by the agency during remarks to Congress last year.

Simone Biles.
Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation on September 15, 2021.
Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images
Simone Biles.
Simone Biles competes in the Women’s Balance Beam Final on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

“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,” Wray told victims during a Senate hearing. “And that’s inexcusable.”

A message seeking comment from the FBI was not immediately returned early Wednesday.

Another sex abuse survivor, former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy, blasted the FBI for botching its opportunity to stop Nassar’s predatory actions.

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“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,” Roy said in a statement.

With Post wires