(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Justice on Tuesday announced it has reached a $138.7 million settlement deal with victims of the disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to resolve their claims of wrongdoing against the FBI in its failures to investigate allegations of sexual abuse.

“For decades, Lawrence Nassar abused his position, betraying the trust of those under his care and medical supervision while skirting accountability,” Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said in a statement. “These allegations should have been taken seriously from the outset. While these settlements won’t undo the harm Nassar inflicted, our hope is that they will help give the victims of his crimes some of the critical support they need to continue healing.”

Once finalized, the settlement will resolve 139 tort claims filed against the DOJ and the FBI in 2022 by the long list of athletes and patients who reported abuse by Nassar, including Maggie Nichols, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

The claims, which in total sought roughly $1 billion in damages, were filed after the department said it was declining to pursue criminal charges against agents whom the DOJ’s inspector general found failed to properly investigate allegations of abuse by Nassar.

The watchdog report found the FBI was notified of Nassar’s behavior but failed to act for more than 14 months, a period where Nassar is alleged to have abused at least 40 more girls and women.

Nassar pleaded guilty in 2017 in connection with crimes against several victims and was sentenced to 60 years behind bars for child pornography and other charges. He again pleaded guilty in 2018 and was sentenced to an additional 40 to 175 years for multiple counts of sexual assault of minors.

Attorneys for many of those who brought claims against the government celebrated the agreement on Tuesday but said “the FBI fundamentally failed to protect hundreds of women and girls from sexual abuse through inaction and total mishandling of their Larry Nassar investigation.”

“We are proud to have achieved a monumental settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, that not only secures the recovery the survivors deserve but also holds the DOJ and FBI accountable for their failures,” Megan Bonanni and Michael L. Pitt said in a statement. “We hope this serves as a lesson for federal law enforcement and they make the changes necessary to prevent anything like this from happening again.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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