The FBI has shown interest in settling a series of lawsuits filed against the bureau by survivors of sexual assault by former U.S. gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, according to a letter reviewed by the New York Times.
More than 90 women, including former gymnasts, filed a lawsuit against the FBI in June for failing to act on accusations against Nassar. Among the claimants are Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, with total claims for all 90-plus plaintiffs exceeding $1 billion.
The move comes after senior Justice Department officials went Thursday to Capitol Hill to explain their decision not to charge agents who mishandled the Nassar case.
Per NPR, Jamie White, a lawyer representing a group of survivors, said he heard from the government officials Wednesday.
“My clients have been through extreme trauma and were relieved to see the government is open to a dialogue,” White told NPR. “While dialogue is a positive step in the right direction, we remain prepared to hold parties accountable through an adversarial process if necessary.”
The FBI’s handling of the case has been the subject of scrutiny, with Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa both vocal about their dissatisfaction.
“I remain deeply dissatisfied and concerned with the lack of public explanation for the reason to decline prosecution,” Blumenthal said Thursday after meeting with Kenneth A. Polite, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. “The explanation we were given still leaves me very troubled about the adequacy of the investigation and Justice Department’s decision.”