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Crime: US pays $138.7 million to gymnastics abuse victims

Crime: US pays $138.7 million to gymnastics abuse victims

crime US awards $138.7 million to victims of gymnastics abuse

Former sports doctor and gymnastics official Larry Nassar faces more than 250 allegations of sexual assault. Photograph

© Paul Sancia/AP/dpa

A doctor abuses 250 gymnasts. Because the FBI responded so late, the US Department of Justice is now paying millions of dollars in damages.

The U.S. Department of Justice will award $138.7 million in damages to multiple victims of former sports doctor and gymnastics official Larry Nassar's abuse. According to a report, 139 administrative cases related to Nassar's sexual abuse allegations have been resolved.

In a lawsuit filed by the top security agency, the FBI, the women and girls alleged that the victims were too late to follow up on their reports of abuse, which allowed Nassar to commit more crimes for more than a year until his arrest in the fall of 2016. The Justice Department announced that the settlement reached now resolves the administration's claims against the United States. The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press had already expressed their willingness to pay compensation earlier in the week.

For decades, Nassar “abused his position by betraying the trust of the people under his care and medical supervision, while shirking responsibility,” said Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer was quoted in the statement as saying: “These charges are serious. While these settlements will not undo the damage Nasser has caused from the beginning, we hope they will help provide victims of his crimes with the vital support they need to continue to heal.”

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Nassar pleaded guilty in November 2017

Nassar, 60, was a physician for gymnasts at the USA Gymnastics Federation and Michigan State University for more than 20 years. During this time he allegedly sexually abused 265 women and girls, including Olympic champions Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney. FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted to the US Senate in September 2021 his agency's “inexcusable” failure.

Nassar pleaded guilty in November 2017 and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for more than 250 counts of sexual assault in three convictions. World star Biles testified at the trial along with more than 150 other victims.

Victims of abuse have already been awarded compensation, now totaling over a billion dollars. Nassar's former employer, Michigan State University, pledged $500 million to a settlement in 2018, and a $380 million deal was reached with the USA Gymnastics Association in 2021.