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Olympic gymnasts Biles, Raisman and Maroney are among dozens demanding $1 billion from the FBI for a botched investigation into the sexual abuse of Larry Nassar | CNN

Olympic gymnasts Biles, Raisman and Maroney are among dozens demanding $1 billion from the FBI for a botched investigation into the sexual abuse of Larry Nassar |  CNN
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CNN

Lawyers for more than 90 women and girls who were sexually abused by disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar have filed claims for more than $1 billion with the FBI, saying investigators could have ended Nassar’s predation and protected other victims if they hadn’t mishandled the case.

The plaintiffs include Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney and world championship medalist Maggie Nichols. Each asked for $50 million, according to the law firm representing them.

Gymnasts Kaylee Lorincz and Hannah Morrow are each seeking $42.5 million, the attorneys said. Lawyers say most of the 90 women are asking for $10 million each; in total, the sum would be of the order of 1 to 1.2 billion dollars.

CNN contacted the Justice Department, which oversees the FBI, and officials declined to comment.

Under federal tort claims law, plaintiffs are required to give notice to the federal agency before a lawsuit is filed in federal court. The agency then has six months to reach a settlement or deny the claim before the lawsuit can be filed.

In the Federal Tort Act Notice of Claims, attorneys say the FBI received credible complaints from numerous victims in July 2015 – but failed to interview them or properly investigate the abuse.

The claims state in part that “the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had credible complaints from numerous sources and corroborating evidence of Dr. Larry Nassar’s (Nassar’s) sexual assaults of young women and children over several years and worldwide. .”

“FBI officials, who possessed this knowledge and were able to stop Nassar’s predation, grossly failed in their duties, which resulted in Nassar sexually assaulting approximately 100 young women and children between July 28, 2015 and on September 12, 2016, and conspired with the highest officials of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, Inc. to conceal this known sexual abuse from foreseeable victims,” the allegations state.

“The FBI grossly failed in its duties by refusing to interview gymnasts who were willing to speak about the abuse, by not transferring the complaint to Lansing Michigan where Nassar continued to abuse the girls, ignoring his obligation to report the child abuse to relevant state and federal agencies and lying to Congress, the media and FBI Headquarters about their lack of diligence in investigating Nassar’s complaint,” the victims’ attorneys said in a statement.

“As a result, Nassar continued his predatory behavior, sexually assaulting approximately 90 young women and children between July 28, 2015 and September 12, 2016.”

Nichols, an NCAA national champion, held the FBI to account.

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

Nassar, the longtime doctor for the US gymnastics team and Michigan State University, is serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for child pornography.

He was also sentenced to a state prison term of 40 to 175 years in Michigan after pleading guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct.

A report by the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed gross failures by the FBI to properly investigate complaints from gymnasts, who informed the bureau in 2015 of the abuse.

The inspector general found officers lied to investigators, but the Justice Department under the Trump administration and again early in the Biden administration declined to press charges.

In April, 13 of Nassar’s sexual assault victims filed separate claims against the FBI totaling $130 million, claiming that all officers involved in the Nassar investigation chose to “turn a blind eye” to child sexual abuse by Nassar.

Those 13 victims accused officers of “negligence” and “wrongdoing” during the investigation, according to administrative tort claims seeking $10 million for each victim.

In May, the Justice Department announced it would not press charges against two former FBI agents accused of mishandling the Nassar sex abuse investigation – the third time prosecutors have come to this conclusion.

In a statement at the time, the department said the latest decision to decline to prosecute the officers came “after multiple reviews and analyzes of evidence gathered during the former officers’ investigation, and reflects the recommendation of prosecutors experienced”.

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