Justice Department Reaches $100 Million Settlement with Nassar Abuse Victims

The U.S. Department of Justice agrees to pay $100 million to victims of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor convicted of sexual abuse, acknowledging the FBI's failure to properly investigate the allegations.

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Muhammad Jawad
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Justice Department Reaches $100 Million Settlement with Nassar Abuse Victims

Justice Department Reaches $100 Million Settlement with Nassar Abuse Victims

The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to pay $100 million to the victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of young athletes under the guise of medical treatment. The settlement, announced on Monday, aims to resolve claims that the FBI failed to properly investigate allegations against Nassar, allowing him to continue his abuse for months after the initial complaints were made.

Under the terms of the settlement, the Justice Department will pay $100 million to be divided among the more than 300 women and girls who have come forward as victims of Nassar's abuse. The agreement also includes a provision for an independent review of the FBI's handling of the case, which has been criticized as slow and inadequate.

Why this matters: The settlement marks a significant step in the ongoing effort to hold institutions accountable for failing to protect young athletes from sexual abuse. The settlement also emphasizes the necessity for better policies and procedures to guarantee that abuse allegations are swiftly and rigorously investigated.

Nassar, who worked as a doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault. During his sentencing hearing, more than 150 women and girls gave impact statements detailing the abuse they suffered at his hands.

The settlement comes after a scathing report by the Justice Department's inspector general, which found that the FBI's Indianapolis field office failed to respond to allegations against Nassar with the "utmost seriousness and urgency" and made "fundamental errors" in its investigation. The report also found that senior officials in the FBI's Indianapolis office made false statements and failed to properly document complaints by the accusers.

In a statement, FBI Director Christopher Wray apologized to the victims and said the agency's conduct was "inexcusable and a discredit to this organization." He pledged to take steps to ensure that such failures do not happen again.

The settlement is one of the largest ever reached by the Justice Department in a case of sexual abuse. It follows a $500 million settlement reached last year between Michigan State University and more than 300 women and girls who said they were abused by Nassar.

"This settlement serves as a testament to the courage of the survivors who spoke out and the relentless efforts of their advocates," said Attorney General Merrick Garland. "It also reflects the Justice Department's commitment to holding accountable those who fail to protect the most vulnerable among us."

Key Takeaways

  • DOJ to pay $100M to victims of Larry Nassar's abuse at USA Gymnastics.
  • Settlement aims to resolve claims of FBI's failure to properly investigate Nassar.
  • Independent review of FBI's handling of the case to be conducted.
  • Nassar sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual assault.
  • Settlement is one of the largest ever reached by DOJ in a sexual abuse case.