Larry Nassar sex abuse survivors file 13 claims against FBI for handling of case

Survivors of former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar filed claims against the FBI this week.

A total of 13 claims were filed against the FBI for its failure to investigate Nassar. The survivors are seeking $130 million.

The FBI has six months since the claims were filed to reply before lawsuits can be filed. If a deal can't be reached, they will face a civil lawsuit - and attorneys expect more survivors to file claims as well.

"To know the FBI could have helped to avoid this trauma - it disgusts me and it hurts me," said Grace French, one of the 13 survivors.

More: Justice Dept: FBI 'seriously mishandled' Nassar case

A U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General's report about the handling of the case called it "fundamental errors by the FBI."

According to the inspector general's report, it started with senior officials in the Indianapolis FBI field office, who initially blew off the case in 2015, and failed to report the allegations against Nassar to the Lansing FBI or local authorities - which could have stopped the abuse of at least 40 people.

"On July 28th of 2015, the FBI had a meeting with U.S. Gymnastics where it learned for the first time - that Nassar had been assaulting young women," said attorney Jamie White.

Department policy requires the FBI to investigate claims of child abuse immediately - instead, the agent in charge in Indianapolis waited five weeks to interview one victim over the phone and never documented it.

The FBI field office in Los Angeles was also alerted to Nassar's abuse and did nothing - allowing Nassar to continue abusing young athletes for almost a year and a half.

"Seventeen months after that July meeting there was a referral to the Lansing FBI - it was not a referral from other FBI agents - it was a referral from the MSU police department who - through their own due diligence - had blown this case wide open," White said.

Attorneys say it's an unthinkable failure on the part of the FBI that the bureau admitted to, and apologized for, during Department of Justice and congressional investigations.

"I'm especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed," said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

It took several months before a formal investigation was launched, and Nassar was not arrested until December of 2016.

When the inspector general's office questioned supervisory special agents about it, they are accused of falsifying a victim's statement and lying about how agents handled the case.

Last year, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles told Congress that federal law enforcement and gymnastics officials turned a "blind eye" to Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of her and hundreds of other women.

Nassar pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal child pornography offenses and sexual abuse charges, and he is currently in prison.