United States – The United States Department of Justice has reached a civil settlement valued at $138.7 million with more than two hundred victims of the former USA Gymnastics physician, Larry Nassar, who was given a jail term for sexually abusing the athletes under his care, said the attorney general on Tuesday.

The settlement brings two sides together, after which the FBI was claimed to have failed the initial investigation about Nassar, clarified the Justice Department, as reported by Reuters.

Support for Nassar’s Victims

The serious nature of these allegations should have been treated as a priority since the very beginning, Benjamin Mizer, acting U.S. associate attorney general, said in a statement. “We don’t believe that the settlement put an end to the suffering of our loved ones caused by Nassar, but our hope is that it will be able to provide the support that the victims of his crimes need so that they can continue their journey to healing.”

Nassar who served as the main physician for the US gymnasts for almost two decades was handed a 60-year sentence in a federal court after he was charged with possessing child sex abuse material. In the next year, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in one Michigan court for molesting female gymnasts who were under his supervision, and in the other Michigan court for up to 125 years for the same acts.

The Olympic champions, Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney from the USA were among those who put in a public work against the FBI for the poor handling of the investigation.

Accountability for FBI’s Actions

Visual Representation. Credit | Getty images

The department noted that the settlement closed 137 cases. The women claimed that the FBI let them down, not doing anything after the evidence of Nassar’s sexually abusing teenage girls and young women was given to the FBI in 2015.

“We are proud to have achieved a monumental pact with the U.S. Department of Justice that not only secures the recovery the survivors deserve but also holds the DOJ and FBI accountable for their failures,” four lawyers who represented 77 of the victims said in a statement.

FBI Investigation and DOJ Response

An investigation into the FBI’s practices by the department’s internal oversight office in 2021 would reveal that, among others, beyond failing to call for witness interviews and document interviews promptly, the agency also inappropriately relied on unverified hearsay, as reported by Reuters.

However, the Department of Justice has refused to press further criminal indictments against the agents, having already made this decision shortly before the 2022 elections.

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