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Former Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are part of a group of nearly 90 women bringing claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the FBI, claiming that their failure to properly investigate complaints against Dr. Larry Nassar resulted in the continued sexual abuse of women and girls under his care.
Nassar, a former doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, is spending what will likely be the rest of his life behind bars after being convicted of abusing dozens of female athletes under the guise of medical treatment. The FBI received reports in 2015 that Nassar abused at multiple gymnasts, but a Justice Department Inspector General report found that they did not open an investigation at that time.
“FBI officials, who possessed this knowledge and were in a position to end Nassar’s predation, were grossly derelict in their duties resulting in Nassar sexually assaulting approximately 100 young women and children between July 28, 2015, and September 12, 2016, and conspired with the highest-ranking officials within the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, Inc. to conceal this known sexual abuse from foreseeable victims,” a claim from five of the former gymnasts said.
Fox News reached out to the FBI for comment but they did not immediately respond.
“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us – the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, the FBI and now the Department of Justice,” Maroney said in a statement. “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. It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process.”
Maroney, Biles, Raisman and fellow gymnast Maggie Nichols recounted their experiences before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September after the DOJ Inspector General’s report revealed the FBI’s inaction.
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 Charlotte, Michigan, Feb. 5, 2018. (Reuters/Rebecca Cook)
“In reviewing the OIG’s report,” Biles said at the time. “it truly feels that the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to protect USAG and USOPC. A message needs to be sent: if you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough.”
Maroney, who won Olympic gold in 2012, told lawmakers how she spent three hours on the phone with the FBI in the summer of 2015, answering questions and discussing in detail every instance of abuse she endured.
“After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015 not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later they made entirely false claims about what I said,” Maroney said at the hearing, stating that she “was shocked and deeply disappointed” by what she had read in the inspector general’s report.
FBI Director Chris Wray apologized for the bureau’s failures at a Senate hearing.
U.S. Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols arrive to testify during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General’s report on the FBI handling of the Larry Nassar investigation, on Capitol Hill, Sept. 15, 2021. (Saul Loeb/Pool via Reuters)
“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 said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland also apologized when he appeared before senators in April.
“It’s almost unspeakable. It is unspeakable,” Garland said. “What happened to those gymnasts and also the unspeakable way in which the investigation failed to proceed. We have created institutional changes in that regard to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Neither Wray nor Garland were in office in 2015.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.