UPDATE: On Wednesday, June 8, more than 90 women also filed lawsuits against the FBI for its failure to properly investigate the crimes of Larry Nassar.
On Thursday, April 21, it was announced 13 survivors are suing the FBI for its failure to properly investigate abuse allegations against Larry Nassar. Survivor and TAOS Founder Grace French spoke at a press conference; her statement is below:
My name is Grace French and I am founder and president of the Army of Survivors. Not only am I a survivor, but I am also an advocate, marketing professional, sister, fiancee, daughter and founder. Since I came forward about my abuse in 2018, I have dedicated my life to eliminating sexual assault and bringing awareness to sexual violence within athletics.
Since this case broke four years ago, Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics have been talked about as the enabling institutions that allowed the abuse of hundreds of young athletes to occur. Due to the Department of Justice’s report in July, we now know that the FBI should be included in that same group, and therefore should be held accountable as well.
The FBI — a government institution charged with protecting citizens — failed to protect children and athletes. They put their selfishness above our wellbeing. And that lack of action by the FBI caused avoidable trauma for survivors like myself.
No one should have been assaulted after the summer of 2015, because the FBI should have done its job. To know that the FBI could have helped to avoid this trauma. It disgusts me. It hurts me.
This incredible systemic breakdown shows that there is needed change in the way that the FBI responds to cases of abuse. We need to continue to pursue accountability for the institutions that allowed athletes and children to continue to see Nassar, long after reports were made. They left us at the disposal of a predator.
This is about showing those institutions who continue to harbor, enable, and protect predators that they won’t get away with it. That there are consequences for turning a blind eye to abuse through inaction.
Survivors deserve justice in whatever form that may be. No amount will make up for the abuse that so many endured, but it can be a step toward healing for hundreds of survivors.
To those survivors who may be struggling today, you are not alone in this journey. You are worthy of justice.