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Justice Department nears settlement with Larry Nassar victims over FBI failures

Settlement expected for Nassar survivors
Justice Department nears $100 million settlement with Nassar abuse survivors 02:50

The United States government and victims of former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar are close to finalizing a deal that will resolve claims by abuse victims that the FBI failed to properly investigate allegations of wrongdoing against the doctor, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The final dollar amount is not yet completely finalized as discussions between the parties could continue, CBS News has learned.  

If a settlement is reached, it will be paid out by the Justice Department to about 100 of Nassar's victims, including superstar Olympian Simone Biles and fellow gold medalists Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney. 

The Justice Department, FBI, and attorneys for some of the victims declined to comment.

News of a potential settlement was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

A Department of Justice inspector general report released in July 2021 found that the FBI learned Nassar had been accused of molesting gymnasts in 2015, but failed to act, leaving him free to continue to target people for months. According to the report, FBI agents even lied to the inspector general to cover up their actions. While the agents involved were either fired or retired, the Department of Justice never prosecuted anyone involved in the case. In May 2022, federal prosecutors said, after reconsidering the case, they would not pursue criminal charges against the agents who failed to quickly open an investigation. 

"He was seeing 8 to 10 patients a day, sometimes 15, and molesting little girls," John Manly, one of the attorneys representing Nassar's survivors, told "CBS Mornings" in 2022 of Nassar's actions. 

The victims collectively filed a lawsuit in 2022 against the FBI alleging negligence and wrongdoing. Any final settlement in this case would likely resolve the victims' claims against the federal government.

Speaking before Congress in 2021, FBI Director Christopher Wray condemned the agents' past handling of the Nassar allegations, adding, "On no planet is what happened in this case acceptable." Again in 2022, he told Congress the FBI would not make the same mistakes in the future, a sentiment echoed by Attorney General Merrick Garland that same year, when he called the FBI's failures "horrible."

Neither Wray nor Garland were leading their respective organizations at the time of the FBI misconduct.

In total, settlements concerning the disgraced former national women's gymnastics team doctor have now totaled nearly $1 billion. Michigan State University, where Nassar was a doctor, agreed to pay $500 million to more than 300 women and girls who were assaulted by him.

The school was also accused of missing chances to stop Nassar. USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee in 2021 agreed to a $380 million settlement with his victims. As part of the agreement, the organizations must also make significant reforms to prevent future abuse, CBS News reported. 

Nassar is serving multiple prison sentences for crimes of sexual abuse and child pornography after pleading guilty to several charges throughout 2017 and 2018.

—Kerry Breen contributed reporting.

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