Watch CBS News

Justice Department to pay $138.7 million to settle with ex-USA gymnastics official Larry Nassar victims

DOJ agrees to settlement with Nassar victims
Justice Department agrees to $138.7 million settlement with Nassar victims 00:30

Washington — The Justice Department and more than 100 victims of former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar reached a civil settlement over allegations that FBI agents failed to properly investigate the gymnasts' claims of abuse against the now-convicted doctor. 

Superstar Olympian Simone Biles and fellow U.S. gold medalists Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are among the victims who claimed the FBI did not pursue allegations that Nassar was abusing his patients. 

The U.S. will pay $138.7 million to settle 139 claims against the FBI, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. 

A 2021 Justice Department watchdog report confirmed that FBI agents did not take the proper investigative steps when they first learned that Nassar was sexually abusing young gymnasts in 2015. Those failures, according to the Justice Department inspector general, left the physician free to continue abusing patients for months. The FBI agents were either fired or retired, and in May 2022, federal prosecutors said they would not pursue criminal charges against the agents involved in those missteps.

US Gymnasts Testify As Senate Examines FBI's Handling Of Larry Nassar Investigation
FILE: U.S. Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and NCAA and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols testified at a Senate Judiciary hearing about the inspector general's report on the FBI handling of the Larry Nassar investigation of sexual abuse of U.S. gymnasts, Sept. 15, 2021, Washington, DC. SAUL LOEB / Getty Images

"These allegations should have been taken seriously from the outset. While these settlements won't undo the harm Nassar inflicted, our hope is that they will help give the victims of his crimes some of the critical support they need to continue healing," Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin Mizer said in a statement announcing the settlement Tuesday. 

The victims sued the FBI in 2022 alleging negligence and wrongdoing. The final settlement in this case resolves the victims' claims against the federal government.

File: Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens during the sentencing phase in Eaton, County Circuit Court on January 31, 2018 in Charlotte, Mich.  JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

In 2021, FBI Director Christopher Wray, testifying before Congress, condemned the agents' past handling of the Nassar allegations, adding, "On no planet is what happened in this case acceptable." In 2022, he told Congress the FBI would not make the same mistakes in the future. Attorney General Merrick Garland characterized the FBI's failures as "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 university 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.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.