Portrait of Strength: Eighty-four survivors came together at Michigan’s Supreme Court Building, also known as the Hall of Justice.

The Army of Survivors Statement on U.S. DOJ’s Investigation and Review of the FBI’s Handling of Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Former USA Gymnastics Physician

Content warning: Mention of abusers’ names and sexual violence.

Okemos, Michigan (July 14, 2021) — Following initial review of Wednesday’s report from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on its investigation into the FBI’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics phycisian Larry Nassar, The Army of Survivors has issued the following statement:

The Army of Survivors shares our support, care and concern for the many survivors who were today once again reminded of the trauma they experienced by former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar. Our organization was founded by a group of more than 40 survivors of sexual violence, some of whom were impacted by Nassar as young athletes.

Today’s report from the OIG proved that the FBI — a government institution that should protect its citizens — failed to protect children, including the brave athlete survivors who founded our organization.

It is unacceptable that multiple institutions, including the FBI, have failed to this extent and have put their selfishness above the wellbeing of young athletes. In the time between July 2015, when the first complaint against Nassar was filed with the FBI, and August 2016, when the MSU Police Department received a separate complaint of sexual abuse by Nassar, approximately 70 young athletes were sexually abused. The lack of action by the FBI has caused avoidable trauma for survivors. 

This OIG report further illustrates the need for accountability. From here, The Army of Survivors urges the DOJ to conduct a criminal investigation into the FBI officers who led an unethical and insufficient investigation. 

The Army of Survivors Founder & President Grace French saw Larry Nassar for the last time in the spring of 2015 at Michigan State University, after USA Gymnastics had started their “internal investigation” and before they had reported it to the FBI in July of 2015. 

“It’s disheartening to know that it took this long for the public to truly get a glimpse into what happened with this investigation,” says The Army of Survivors Founder & President Grace French. “We have been waiting for this day for years. I hope that this brings about more accountability to the institutions who allowed athletes to continue to see Nassar, like myself, long after multiple reports were being investigated. They left these athletes at the disposal of a predator. Survivors deserve to know why that happened. Survivors deserve justice.”

We extend our deepest concern for all survivors of sexual assault as well as their friends and families. To those survivors who may be struggling today, you are not alone in this journey. You are worthy of justice. Our organization remains committed to our mission to bring awareness, accountability, and transparency to sexual violence against athletes.

For immediate support, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.

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Sport has the potential to be a catalyst for human development, unity, and freedom, but too often it instead brings harm to its athletes, fans, and communities. We exist to uncover and rectify the many abuses that exist both in and around sport. We aim to transform sports into an authentic force for good.