Thirteen sexual assault victims of Larry Nassar filed tort claims against the FBI over its mishandled investigation, which they say led to even more abuse from the disgraced former athletic doctor. The 13 victims are each seeking $10 million from the Bureau, lawyers announced Thursday (April 21).
The groups' claims are an effort to hold the FBI accountable for the abuse they endured after July 2015, the Associated Press reported. The court filing specifically accuses agents from the Indianapolis and Los Angeles FBI field officer of choosing to "turn a blind eye" to the abuse Nassar perpetrated against children. The group also alleges "negligence" and "wrongful acts" from FBI agents during the investigation.
"This was not a case involving fake $20 bills or tax cheats," attorney Jamie White said in a statement to the AP. "These were allegations of a serial rapist who was known to the FBI as the Olympic US Doctor with unfettered access to young women."
Nassar, White said, continued a "reign of terror for 17 unnecessary months" after the victims came forward about the assaults.
Three victims in Indianapolis told FBI agents about Nassar in 2015, but a report from the Inspector General states that a formal investigation was not launched there or in Michigan where Nassar previously worked at Michigan State University, nor were state or local authorities informed about the sexual assault claims.
In 2016, the LA FBI field office began an investigation into Nassar, but didn't tell authorities in Michigan, the Inspector General said.
"No one should have been assaulted after the summer of 2015 because the FBI should have done its job," Army of Survivors Founder Grace French told the AP. "To know that the FBI could have helped to avoid this trauma disgusts me."
With tort claims, the filings have to be made with a government agency, which has six months to respond. From there a lawsuit could be filed, depending on how the Bureau responds.
Last year, a group of Olympic-medaling gymnasts who also suffered abuse from Nassar testified before a Senate committee about their experience and the FBI's mishandling of the case.
Reading about trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
For more mental health resources, click HERE.