All the agents involved in the Nassar investigation elected to “turn a blind eye” to the sexual abuse perpetrated on children by Nassar, accusing them of “negligence” and “wrongful acts” during the investigation, according to administrative tort claims seeking $10 million for each victim.
The filing targets the FBI Indianapolis and Los Angeles field offices specifically for failing to act properly on sexual abuse allegations against Nassar, the former Olympic doctor who sexually abused girls for decades.
The FBI declined comment on Thursday but referred to Director Christopher Wray’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last September — in which he called “the actions and inaction” of agents “inexcusable and a discredit to this organization and the values we hold dear.”
By law, the victims must file the administrative claims with the government agency before they can file a civil lawsuit. The agency has six months to respond and potentially settle with the claimants before they can opt to file a lawsuit.
Nassar, the former longtime doctor for the USA Gymnastics team and Michigan State University, is serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on child pornography charges.
He also was sentenced to a 40-to-175 year state prison sentence in Michigan after pleading guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Last month Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Jerry Moran in a letter called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to conduct a comprehensive review of all information related to Nassar, noting “to date there has been little to no action taken to hold those at DOJ, who should have protected Nassar’s victims, accountable.”
In September, Olympic gymnasts McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles in Senate testimony ripped the FBI and the Justice Department for how the agency mishandled abuse allegations and then made false statements in the fallout from the botched investigation.
At the time, Wray testified that he felt “heartsick and furious” once he learned the extent of the agency’s failures.
Still, Wray painted the botched investigation as the product of “individuals” who “betrayed the core duty that they have of protecting people,” rather than as being reflective of the agency as a whole.
Wray vowed to “make damn sure that everybody at the FBI remembers what happened here in heartbreaking detail.”
In December, USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and their insurers agreed to pay $380 million in a settlement with the victims of Nassar.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez contributed to this story.