Historic FBI-Nassar Settlement: A Beacon of Hope for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

by | Apr 24, 2024 | Cheer & Youth Athletic Organizations, Doctors/Healthcare Providers

Nassar Settlement Horowitz Law

A Monumental Milestone: Progress is Unfolding for Victims of Abuse

In a landmark decision signaling a potent wave of change, the Justice Department, alongside over a hundred brave souls who endured the unspeakable at the hands of former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar, has culminated in a civil settlement. This remarkable agreement addresses the grievous oversights of FBI agents in probing the gymnasts’ harrowing allegations against Nassar, now a convicted criminal. This settlement not only sheds light on the “botched” investigation by the FBI and the “fundamental errors made,” as numerous reports have critiqued, but also marks a pivotal stride toward accountability and justice for the victims of these heinous acts. One US senator reported that abuse victims “were betrayed by the institutions they should have been able to trust.”

Because of the FBI’s callous inaction, more innocent girls suffered needlessly. As a result, it was announced yesterday that more than $138 million would be paid to 139 of the 265 victims of the now-disgraced and imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar of Michigan State. They told the FBI about this serial predator, and the FBI, at best, dragged its feet.

Yes, you read that right. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, is being held accountable for responding poorly and slowly when some of Nassar’s victims approached the agency a few years ago. This is BIG news. It’s a very encouraging sign. It sends an important message to every abuse survivor who has thought about reporting their abuse but opted to stay silent. These courageous victims spoke out, and now justice prevails, and Nassar won’t be sexually abusing his patients anymore. 

A New Day is Dawning for Child Sexual Abuse Victims

Reflecting on the catastrophic failure of appropriate action from the FBI, a newfound hope emerges for child sexual abuse survivors. The negligence once shown by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency has morphed into a beacon of justice for those who once felt forsaken by the very institutions meant to protect them.

This settlement is not merely a financial compensation—it is an affirmation that the voices of survivors are being heard, recognized, and vindicated. It embodies the courage of the victims who, despite potential despair, chose to speak out against Nassar, putting an end to his reign of abuse.

Empowering Survivors, Transforming Perceptions

In today’s evolving society, the battle against child sexual abuse is gaining unprecedented momentum. The persistent silence and doubt that once enveloped victims are gradually dissipating. High-profile cases have spotlighted how even the most esteemed organizations can falter, fostering an environment where survivors feel increasingly empowered to share their stories.

These days, no matter who hurt you, in whatever setting, you have a better chance than ever of being heard. Many child sexual abuse victims choose to keep quiet because they doubt whether people in authority will believe them and take action. Those doubts, however, should slowly be waning because times are changing. Anyone who watches or reads any news has seen, especially in the last decade or two, highly regarded and powerful institutions once thought to be both above reproach and untouchable be brought low because they did wrong by children.

Denominations, schools, daycares, sports leagues, and whole industries (think massage spa chains and Hollywood). . all brought to shame in the civil courts, criminal courts, and the court of public opinion because of child sexual abuse. Equally significant, these institutions don’t get off with just a “Gee, we’re sorry” and “We promise we’ll do better in the future.”

These entities must shell out what could be called reparations or recompense to those hurt while in their care, sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars. When the FBI faces serious consequences for not taking prompt measures when abuse survivors seek its help, it shows (excuse the cliche) that a new day is dawning that this accountability is spreading, even to the highest reaches of the US government.

Over recent decades, in almost all private sector institutions, those who ignore, hide or enable child sex crimes in institutional settings are being taken to task. They are being exposed, embarrassed, and forced to pay settlements and make reforms.

The historic FBI-Nassar settlement transcends beyond the realm of private institutions; it signals a widespread demand for accountability enveloping even the echelons of the U.S. government. This growing accountability culture discredits any claims of biased scrutiny towards certain institutions, underlining a universal call for justice irrespective of an entity’s stature or influence.

Embracing a Future of Hope and Healing

At Horowitz Law, we stand firm in the belief that despite the grim realities of child sexual abuse pervading our daily news, there is tangible progress being made. The legal system, though imperfect, has demonstrated its capacity to uphold justice for the marginalized and overlooked.

Yes, virtually every day, there are news accounts of child predators. Yes, virtually every day, there are news accounts of these predators’ bosses and colleagues acting selfishly, cowardly, and irresponsibly. There are even news accounts of law enforcement agencies doing awful jobs at investigating this horror. But there are also news accounts—not as many, but some—that prove that justice can be won, crimes can be exposed, and those who commit, conceal, and ignore these crimes can be held responsible. Our laws and court systems do work—not always to be sure—even for those who are or feel most overlooked or oppressed.

This all brings to mind a poem by Langston Hughes, that steadfast ally to the overlooked and oppressed. It’s called “In Explanation of Our Times.” 

In it, Hughes writes“The folks with no titles in front of their names all over the world are raring up and talking back to the folks called Mister.” He lists powerful officials and politicians who tell the powerless to “shut up.” But Hughes observes that these days, “the people with no titles in front of their names” reply, “Hell no! It’s time to talk back now! History says it’s time.” 

We at Horowitz Law submit that history now says it’s time for long-suffering victims of heinous child sex crimes and cover-ups to talk back and to do so where they’re most likely to succeed: in courts of law.

Finally, we would be remiss if we failed to honor, praise, and thank the USA Gymnastics national team stars McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Sabrina Vega, Ashton Locklear, Kyla Ross, Simone Biles, and Alyssa Baumann, who have been at the forefront of this historic campaign! 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse nationwide. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by clergy, teachers, doctors, coaches, or any authoritarian figure, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of sexual abuse.  Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. We can help.