Any chance of a copy paste for those of us outside the US?
Federal prison officials have allowed Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor accused of sexually abusing hundreds of girls and women, to avoid paying financial penalties that are part of his sentence — even as he spent more than $10,000 from his Federal Bureau of Prisons account while behind bars, according to a new court filing.
The spending details are contained in a prosecutor’s motion Wednesday that seeks to force the Bureau of Prisons to turn over Nassar’s current prison account balance to help cover a court-ordered payment of $5,300 to the federal Crime Victims Fund.
Bureau of Prisons officials have required Nassar to pay only about $100 a year, according to court papers, or about $300 since he entered the federal prison system in late 2017 after pleading guilty to receiving and possessing child pornography.
During the same period, Nassar spent more than $10,000 through his government-run prison account that covers commissary, email and phone expenses, a situation that one former law enforcement official called an egregious example of how the agency fails crime victims.
“Nassar has paid approximately $8.33 toward his criminal monetary penalties per month, despite receiving deposits into his account over this period totaling $12,825.00,” said the filing by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Fauson. It reported Nassar’s current account balance as $2,041.57.
The Washington Post reported last month that the bureau allows inmates to keep unlimited amounts of money in their accounts and effectively shields much of that money from collection by various entities, leaving the Justice Department in the odd position of having to file court cases to force one of its own agencies to turn over money owed to crime victims or for other debts.
“If the Bureau of Prisons isn’t enforcing these policies with Larry Nassar — who is among the worst of offenders — then which inmates are held to account?” said Jason Wojdylo, who retired from the U.S. Marshals Service months ago after spending years unsuccessfully trying to convince the Bureau of Prisons to make felons pay court orders and other debts.
Nassar — whose alleged victims include gymnastics star Simone Biles and several former Olympians — has seen $12,825 move through his prison account over the last 3½ years, the court filing said, including two payments for covid-19-related stimulus from the federal government totaling $2,000.
“The notion that anybody in the Justice Department would let this happen is just revolting,” said John Manly, a lawyer for many of Nassar’s victims, including Biles, who withdrew from Olympic competition this week, citing mental stress. “The timing of this, with my client being unable to compete because of what happened to her, couldn’t be more upsetting. . . . They’re allowing the worst child predator in American history to spend thousands of dollars on himself and pay $8 a month to his victims. Something is completely broken and needs to be fixed.”
A December 2017 court document related to Nassar’s federal plea calls for a minimum payment of $25 every three months to cover what he owes in federal judgments. “All monies received from income tax refunds, lottery winnings, judgments, and/or any other anticipated or unexpected financial gains to any outstanding court-ordered financial obligations must be applied,” the document states.
The court filing says Nassar has not paid any of the $57,488.52 he was ordered to give five of his victims in the child pornography case, who are identified only as Child 10, Child 11, Child 28, Child 29 and Child 30.
In addition, state court records show Nassar still owes $834 in the Eaton County, Mich., case in which he pleaded guilty to charges of abusing children.
Nassar, who is being held at a high-security prison in central Florida, is serving the equivalent of a life sentence on the state and federal charges, which together make up one of the most egregious serial sex-abuse cases in recent memory. His victims say law enforcement and USA Gymnastics officials ignored the problem for years, allowing the abuse to continue.
The prison-spending figures in the court filing indicate that Nassar is paying the bare minimum required by the Bureau of Prisons’ “inmate financial responsibility” program to maintain prison privileges, such as being able to use email and make phone calls. At this rate, he would ultimately pay only about $500 of the $5,300 he owes because under federal rules, special-assessment debt is canceled after five years.
“The inaction of BOP inmate financial responsibility program officials is outrageous,” Wojdylo said. “This sexual predator’s young victims had an opportunity to receive some financial reparation over the past 3½ years. Instead, BOP has enabled a nominal $25 contribution every three months toward his debt, while he presumably spent thousands of dollars on snacks and other privileges.”
Neither the Bureau of Prisons nor an attorney representing Nassar immediately replied to a request for comment.
Nassar is hardly alone in keeping money in his prison account. Nearly two dozen federal inmates have more than $100,000 each in their Bureau of Prisons accounts, and all prisoner accounts totaled more than $100 million in May, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal data.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday that the details of Nassar’s spending “give the appearance that the Department of Justice places greater importance on Nassar’s comfort than on collecting the debt he owes his victims.”
The lawmaker urged Garland to “review the policies that facilitate this egregious miscarriage of justice” and “implement corrective action as quickly as possible.”
Some law enforcement officials at other federal agencies say the bureau should review those funds and seize money that inmates have been ordered to pay. The Bureau of Prisons counters that Treasury Department screening rules that apply to banks don’t apply to their prisoner accounts because the agency is not a financial institution.
The bureau, already plagued with staffing and management problems, has defended its prisoner account system and said it “encourages” inmates to pay what they owe.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the latest Nassar revelations “sickening” and accused the Bureau of Prisons of stonewalling his committee’s demands for answers.
Wednesday’s court filing marks the second time this month that a federal agency has been accused of failing Nassar’s victims.
A scathing report released July 14 from the Justice Department inspector general found that FBI agents failed to properly investigate allegations that Nassar was sexually abusing girls and women under the guise of medical treatments, apparently allowing dozens more people to be victimized. When confronted, the FBI officials lied rather than admit what they had done, the inspector general found.
Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 330 girls and women — including Olympians Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.
The internal review of the FBI’s handling of the initial allegations against Nassar was launched in 2018, shortly after Nassar was sentenced to a 60-year term for possessing and receiving child pornography, and a state court sentence of 40 to 175 years for assaulting girls.
After receiving the first set of allegations about Nassar from USA Gymnastics in 2015, FBI officials in Indianapolis — where USA Gymnastics is headquartered — decided to refer them to a satellite office in Lansing, Mich., where Nassar was employed by Michigan State University and where some of the abuse allegedly took place.
But the internal investigation found no document showing the referral occurred. FBI officials did not contact local law enforcement officials in Michigan to alert them to possible violations of state law being committed by Nassar, the report concluded.
A year later in 2016, USA Gymnastics officials brought the same allegations against Nassar to the FBI office in Los Angeles, and again the case went nowhere.
The inspector general found that although FBI agents in Los Angeles pursued the issue more aggressively, they were unsure whether Nassar had broken any federal laws. At no point, the inspector general found, did the FBI in Indianapolis open a formal investigation or even an assessment.
What happened to the cut and paste I posted?
This is a huge problem and goes well beyond Nassar. None of these inmate commissary accounts run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons are subject to any kind of scrutiny – regulatory or otherwise – outside of the BOP. They are often used to launder very large sums of money acquired through criminal activity. The BOP does not care because all they care about is the orderly and safe running of their prisons.
And it looks like USAG has reached a settlement. B Court now has to sign off on it.
And for those without subscriptions to the NY Times, here is a cut and paste
A $215 million settlement offer was rejected last year by victims of Lawrence G. Nassar and by others in the sport.
U.S.A. Gymnastics and a court-appointed committee representing sexual abuse victims of Lawrence G. Nassar, the former national team doctor, filed a joint plan on Tuesday that would allow the federation to emerge from bankruptcy and would include a $425 million settlement with those in the sport who were victims of abuse.
The plan, submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana, would end the onslaught of Nassar-related lawsuits against the federation and would compensate the 500 or so gymnasts — including Olympians like Simone Biles and Aly Raisman — involved in the proceedings who say they have been harmed by someone in the sport.
Many athletes abused by Nassar, who molested them under the guise of medical treatment, have been in mediation with the federation since 2018, when U.S.A. Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy protection as a way to settle the growing number of claims and compensate victims.
The $425 million offer in the current plan is nearly double the sum U.S.A. Gymnastics offered as a settlement in early 2020, when it suggested giving $215 million to the Nassar victims. That plan was immediately rejected by many Nassar survivors as too low, and it was also rejected by the court, partly because third parties, like the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, were not contributing funds.
To make the current plan official, all of the insurance companies involved in the settlement — including the company that insures Martha and Bela Karolyi, the former women’s national team coordinators — need to agree to fund the $425 million payout. The bankruptcy court would also have to certify the plan, and the individual victims will vote on it. A majority of the claimants would have to accept the plan, and that majority must account for at least two-thirds of the monetary settlement.
In an emailed statement on Tuesday, U.S.A. Gymnastics expressed confidence in the proposal.
“After extensive discussions, this plan has been jointly proposed by U.S.A. Gymnastics and the Committee,” U.S.A. Gymnastics said in a statement, referring to the committee of sexual abuse survivors involved in the negotiations. Many of the insurers support it as well, the federation said. “We anticipate that this plan will be confirmed later this year and greatly appreciate all parties’ efforts to get to this point.”
The current settlement offer is much lower than the $500 million Michigan State University agreed to pay the more than 300 girls and women who were abused by Nassar, a longtime employee of the university. But Rachael Denhollander, who was abused by Nassar and is a member of the survivors’ committee that helped negotiate the proposal filed in court on Tuesday, said the current plan was about more than just money.
“I will say that the survivors deserve help with their medical care, and therapy is not cheap, so I do think they deserve compensation,” she said. “But it would also be in the best interest of everyone to see actual change and reform to take place in the organization. That’s what we were hoping for. Change was our goal.”
Denhollander said that the survivors’ committee had accepted the plan only after U.S.A. Gymnastics agreed to a list of provisions geared toward reforming the organization and making the sport safer for its athletes. One calls for the establishment of a truth and justice commission, which would examine how Nassar had been able to operate in the organization for so long and molest so many athletes and would come up with ways to prevent such abuse, and the enabling of it, from happening again.
“The non-monetary provisions of this plan are absolutely key,” Denhollander said. “It is reform and change for the next generation. If U.S.A.G. does indeed work with survivors to see these provisions through, it would be groundbreaking.”
Simone, Aly, Mckayla Maroney and Maggie will testify before the Senate Judiciary Cmte tomorrow regrading FBI handling of the Nassar case
Big day today.
Hopefully this awful team at the FBI gets absolutely roasted today.
Out of that 450M settlement - is it public how much Manly is getting?
Wow that was very intense. Especially Maroney.
ETA Chuck Grassley literally screaming in the senate at the FBI director.
ETA2 might I suggest removing Nasser’s face from the landing page for this thread. Not for me. But kinda defeats the purpose of the trigger warning.
The typical fee would be around 1/3. Because it is a class action and now its part of a Bankruptcy proceeding it will need judicial approval, but that’s going to be the basic fee. In that ballpark. And believe me Manly is not going to take one penny less than he can get.
Its a big political theater though. Not much more.
There should be rules for when it gets that big…
Yeah it’s almost cruel to put them all through this again knowing that nothing will come of it.
Did the DOJ explain why those two FBI agents weren’t being prosecuted despite the report confirming they lied in testimony?
yes, actually in regular contingency fee awards in NYS for example, (I assume its similar in other states) the lawyer gets 1/3 only of the first 250,000 and then the percentage starts going down for each additional increment of the fee. So there is kind of a cap. It may not be 1/3 of the entire thing. The B Judge will take a bunch of things into account – the quality of the work, the size of the award, the risk of not winning and hence not getting any compensation (which in this case was de minimus to none). And B Judges are more conservative than others with this kind of thing. So it like will not be a full third. But it will be a large fee. Trust me.
Honestly I have not followed this much at all.
It may well be a very cathartic experience for them. (And Aly especially likes being a voice in this stuff – she is kind of trying to build a career on it) Plus it may have other very good results even though the SJC is likely not going to do much.
Manly had zero risk of a downside on this.
It would sicken me if he gets any more than 2-3 million.
I listened to the whole thing live. It definitely didn’t seem cathartic. Aly was saying how speaking in public about it gives her physical symptoms - once requiring an ambulance be called.
Maroney went into graphic detail. The others didn’t. But you couldn’t hear a pin drop when Maroney was talking about the sleeping pill and walking the hotel hallway at 2am naked.
I’m just watching it now – Blumenthal sez criminal prosecution of some FBI guys is possible.
Aly always says how speaking about this whole thing is extremely difficult for her and I am sure it is. But she has also literally made a career out of it. Its not like she tries to avoid it.
McKayla undoubtedly was Nassar’s major target – or at least one of his major targets and the damage done to her has been very very evident. But you know, just because its hard to give this kind of public testimony does not mean it is ultimately not helpful. It can be a way of taking back your power. No one listened to them back then – but everyone is listening now. I hope it helps them and I hope it helps every other victim too.