The Justice Department’s inspector general found that the FBI seriously mishandled the Larry Nassar case, according to a report released on Thursday.
The larry nassar wife is a term used to describe the woman who married Larry Nassar, who is now serving a 60-year sentence for child pornography.
According to a report published Wednesday by the Department of Justice’s inspector general, senior FBI officials failed to properly handle allegations of sexual assault made against disgraced Olympic doctor Larry Nassar on multiple fronts.
Nassar’s accusations were initially brought to the attention of FBI authorities in Indianapolis in July 2015. Agents delayed five weeks before conducting any interviews on the case, and then failed to follow procedure when sharing information with other bureau employees and law enforcement organizations. Nassar, who eventually pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting gymnasts under the pretense of medical treatment, continued to visit patients for almost a year until he was arrested after a separate report to Michigan police. In civil cases, more than 70 women and children allege Nassar sexually abused them during the year after the FBI received allegations about him.
According to the report, FBI agents working on the investigation did not react with the “seriousness and haste” that serious accusations demanded. The supervisory special agent in Indianapolis also failed to properly record complaints, mismanaged evidence, and made misleading comments about the investigation, according to the investigators. Two US senators have called for criminal charges against a now-retired FBI agent who made false claims under oath.
“There were a number of papers and oral comments given to investigators that were clearly fraudulent,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who headed a Congressional inquiry into the Nassar case. “I’m curious as to why no criminal charges have been filed and if these agents will be held responsible. A level of responsibility is required.”
According to the report released on Wednesday, W. Jay Abbott, the special agent in charge of the Nassar investigation in Indianapolis, lied to federal investigators about his desire to work for USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee. Abbott also exhibited “very bad judgment” in his 2015 interaction with then-USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny, according to the investigators.
Abbott met Penny in an Indianapolis pub in October 2015, three months after Penny initially informed the FBI about Nassar. After Abbott resigned from the FBI, the two men considered Abbott working as a security officer for the United States Olympic Committee. In an email to the USOC’s top security officer, Penny suggested Abbott for the job. According to the article, Abbott subsequently sought for that job in 2017 and contemplated replacing Penny as the head of USA Gymnastics after Penny resigned under pressure as the Nassar accusations became more widely known. Abbott testified under oath to the inspector general’s office in 2019 that he had no interest in such jobs.
Abbott left the FBI in January 2018, a month after Nassar pleaded guilty to child pornography crimes in federal court.
Abbott’s behavior, according to FBI assistant director Douglas Leff, was “especially disturbing” and “is not indicative of the FBI or of our tens of thousands of retirees and current workers,” according to the report released on Wednesday. The supervisory special agent, who was not identified in the report, has been demoted, and the agency “took immediate steps to assure that the person is not working on FBI issues,” according to Leff.
Attorney John Manly, who represents over 150 Nassar survivors, joined the senators in urging the attorney general to file criminal charges against the FBI officers in Indianapolis.
“These women and girls deserved not just a comprehensive investigation into their case, but also the respect and complete attention of those investigating their case,” Manly said in a statement. “Instead, at least two senior FBI agents lied, manufactured a victim’s testimony, and fraudulently denied any crime had been committed in order to protect USA Gymnastics, probably in return for a high-paying post bureau position with the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.”
Nassar is still in federal jail, receiving a 60-year term for child pornography crimes stemming from evidence discovered on his premises in September 2016. In 2018, he pled guilty in Michigan state court to 10 charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, resulting in a sentence of 175 years in prison.
Penny was charged with felony evidence tampering in October 2018 in connection with a different incident in which he reportedly directed an employee to delete papers from the Texas training facility where Nassar treated several Olympic-level gymnasts. Penny’s lawyers previously told ESPN that any claim that he was attempting to curry favor with Abbott by assisting him in finding a post-retirement position with the USOC is “absurd.”
“Steve’s sole request of Agent Abbott or anybody at the FBI was that they investigate Nassar quickly and completely,” the lawyers stated.
According to the inspector general’s findings, the FBI’s investigation was neither fast nor comprehensive. Only one of the three gymnasts who alerted USA Gymnastics authorities about Nassar’s behavior in 2015 was questioned by FBI investigators in Indianapolis. According to the report released on Wednesday, the FBI did not officially record or start an inquiry.
In September 2015, an assistant US attorney recommended the Indianapolis-based agents to move their investigation to the FBI’s Lansing Resident Agency in Michigan, where Nassar resided and saw the majority of his patients, according to investigators. Despite telling USA Gymnastics officials that it had shared information with the Michigan office, the Indianapolis office failed to make the transfer.
In May 2016, USA Gymnastics officials contacted the FBI’s Los Angeles field office to express their concerns about Nassar, eight months later. Los Angeles agents claimed they couldn’t find any evidence of a formal complaint being filed in Indianapolis. The Los Angeles field office questioned many of Nassar’s alleged victims, according to the inspector general, but “did not take any action to minimize the danger to gymnasts that Nassar continued to treat.”
Meanwhile, Penny advised the families of Aly Raisman, Maggie Nichols, and McKayla Maroney to keep their allegations against Nassar to themselves. Penny’s lawyers said that he was under the belief that public references of Nassar’s accusations would damage the FBI’s investigations.
Nassar was permitted to discreetly leave as the women’s national team’s national medical coordinator in September 2015. Before he was caught, he continued to visit gymnasts in Michigan for a year.
The police complaint that led to Nassar’s arrest in 2016 was written by Rachael Denhollander, who said Wednesday’s report validates what they already knew about the FBI’s errors but also demonstrates there is no system in place to hold bad actors responsible for their failings.
“We know there is corruption,” Denhollander told ESPN, “but there has been no responsibility, no repercussions, no justice.” “If they aren’t held responsible, there is no incentive for anybody at the FBI to do it properly.”
Denhollander expressed her expectation that the report released on Wednesday would put fresh pressure on USA Gymnastics and the USOPC to accept responsibility for Nassar’s ongoing abuse. Hundreds of cases brought by Nassar’s survivors have yet to be resolved by these organizations.
The FBI should revise and clarify numerous rules, including how it distributes information with other law enforcement agencies, according to the inspector general’s office. Senators Blumenthal and Moran said they want to schedule a hearing in Congress shortly to learn why the Justice Department did not seek criminal charges in response to the report.
This story was based on information provided by ESPN’s John Barr.
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