DOJ offers to start settlement talks with sexual assault survivors of disgraced U.S. gym doctor Nassar

More than 150 women and girls have claimed Nassar sexually assaulted them over the past 20 years, and more than a dozen survivors have sued the government for its negligence in the investigation.

The FBI recently sent a letter, reviewed by CNN, to attorneys representing survivors who filed claims under the Federal Torts Claims Act, which allows individuals to sue the US government for negligence.

“We are reviewing these claims and wish to consider all options for reaching a resolution, including settlement discussions,” the letter reads in part. “Please let us know if your customers would like to try to resolve this matter administratively.”

Ken Polite, assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s criminal division, traveled to Capitol Hill on Thursday to brief lawmakers involved in the investigation into the FBI’s botched handling of the Nassar investigation, CNN told CNN. people familiar with the matter.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, told CNN that Polite indicated during the briefing that there was a “form of ongoing negotiations” regarding a settlement.

“I think he came to us in good faith, but he’s late on this issue,” Blumenthal said of Polite on Thursday, adding that the Justice Department should go public with everything he said. to lawmakers and that the lawsuit against the FBI was filed “with good cause and justification.”

“Survivors rightly felt that the FBI totally failed this investigation, which, by the way, the Justice Department acknowledged,” Blumenthal said.

CNN is reaching out to survivors and their attorneys.

Nassar, 57, is serving a 40 to 174 year prison sentence in Michigan.

Thirteen survivors filed suits against the FBI totaling $130 million in April, claiming the FBI’s field offices in Indianapolis and Los Angeles failed to act properly on the sexual abuse allegations against Nassar.

The lawsuit is largely based on an inspector general’s report last year, which said agents violated FBI policies by making false statements and failing to properly document survivor complaints.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing into the botched investigation last year, when several Olympic gymnasts recounted their abuse at the hands of Nassar and the trauma of seeing the justice system fail to act on their horrific allegations .

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman recalled during the hearing that an FBI agent “made me feel like my abuse didn’t matter and it didn’t matter.” McKayla Maroney, also a gold medalist, said the FBI “allowed a child molester to go free for over a year and this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue.”

FBI Director Chris Wray, who was not the FBI Director when the Nassar investigation took place, told Senate judicial lawmakers he was “sick and furious” once he learned the extent of the agency’s failures, and that the actions of the agents involved were “unacceptable”.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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