April 19, 2024

Lawyers for Nassar assault survivors have reached $100M deal with Justice Department, AP source says

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, center left, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., attend a news conference with dozens of women and girls who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a former doctor for Michigan State University athletics and USA Gymnastics, July 24, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington.  - Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, center left, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., attend a news conference with dozens of women and girls who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a former doctor for Michigan State University athletics and USA Gymnastics, July 24, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to pay approximately $100 million to settle claims with about 100 people who say they were sexually assaulted by sports doctor Larry Nassar, a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The deal has not been finalized, and no money has been paid, the source said on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak before a formal announcement.

An internal investigation found that FBI agents mishandled abuse allegations by women more than a year before Nassar was arrested in 2016.

The settlement was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment.

Nassar was a Michigan State University sports doctor as well as a doctor at Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics. He is serving decades in prison for assaulting female athletes, including medal-winning Olympic gymnasts, under the guise of treatment.

Lawyers filed claims against the government, focusing on a 15-month period when FBI agents in Indianapolis and Los Angeles had knowledge of allegations against Nassar but apparently took no action, beginning in 2015. The Justice Department inspector general confirmed fundamental errors.

Nassar’s assaults continued until his arrest in fall 2016, authorities said.

The assault survivors include decorated Olympians Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

“I’m sorry that so many different people let you down, over and over again,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told survivors at a Senate hearing in 2021. “And 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.”

The Michigan attorney general’s office ultimately handled the assault charges against Nassar, while federal prosecutors in western Michigan filed a child sex abuse images case against him.

Michigan State University, which was also accused of missing chances over many years to stop Nassar, agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 women and girls who were assaulted. USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee made a $380 million settlement.

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