Inspector General Says F.B.I. Botched Nassar Abuse Investigation


The Justice Department’s inspector normal launched a long-awaited report on Wednesday that sharply criticized the F.B.I.’s dealing with of the sexual abuse case involving Lawrence G. Nassar, the previous physician for the usA. Gymnastics nationwide workforce and Michigan State sports activities, which led to Mr. Nassar’s continued abuse of women and girls.

Mr. Nassar, who’s serving what quantities to life in jail, has been accused of abusing tons of of feminine sufferers — together with the Olympic champion Simone Biles and a majority of the final two United States girls’s Olympic gymnastics groups — underneath the guise of medical therapy.

The report, citing civil court docket paperwork, stated that 70 or extra younger athletes had been sexually abused by Mr. Nassar between July 2015, when U.S.A. Gymnastics first reported allegations in opposition to Mr. Nassar to the F.B.I.’s Indianapolis area workplace, and August 2016, when the Michigan State University Police Department acquired a separate grievance.

John Manly, a lawyer for lots of the victims, stated that quantity is probably going even increased — about 120 sufferers, together with one as younger as eight years previous.

It also said Mr. Abbott violated F.BI. policy when he spoke with Steve Penny, then the president and chief executive of U.S.A. Gymnastics, about potential job opportunities with the U.S. Olympic Committee, even as the two discussed the allegations against Mr. Nassar. Mr. Abbott later applied for a job at the U.S.O.C., but twice lied to the inspector general about seeking that job.

The Justice Department declined to prosecute Mr. Abbott and an unnamed supervisory special agent in Indianapolis in September 2020, according to the report. Mr. Abbott, who retired in January 2018, according to the report, could not be immediately reached for comment.

For Rachael Denhollander, a lawyer and a former gymnast who was the first person to publicly accuse Mr. Nassar of assault, the details in the report showed “an incredibly deep level of betrayal” that did not come as a surprise.

“When I came forward, I fully expected multiple levels of botched investigations and cover-ups because that’s what survivors are up against,” she said, adding that she assumed Mr. Nassar was abusing other women because he had worked with the national team for four years before abusing her, and she knew how abusers worked.

“This is what survivors are up against,” she said. “And they constantly get asked the question, ‘Why don’t survivors report?’ This is why.”

Earlier this year, on May 14, the Justice Department notified the inspector general that it was not opening a new investigation into whether the supervisory special agent had made false statements during interviews with the inspector general. The F.B.I. said that agent was no longer a supervisor and was not working on F.B.I. matters. It said the agent’s conduct was set for review by the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who worked with Senator Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, on a 2019 Senate investigation of the Nassar scandal, called the report “absolutely chilling” and a “gut punch to anyone who cares about effective law enforcement.” He suggested that the Senate hold hearings to hold the F.B.I. accountable, and said he wanted to know why F.B.I. agents had not been criminally charged for having made false statements.

“There were a number of documents and oral statements made to the F.B.I. or I.G. investigators that were plainly false,” Mr. Blumenthal told reporters. “And the circumstances certainly indicate criminal intent.”

Mr. Moran said he wanted to explore, in part, why the Justice Department had declined to prosecute anyone in the F.B.I.

The F.B.I. in a statement said it had made changes so that similar allegations would be shared promptly within the bureau and with other law enforcement agencies.

“This should not have happened,” the F.B.I. said. “The F.B.I. will never lose sight of the harm that Nassar’s abuse caused. The actions and inactions of certain F.B.I. employees described in the report are inexcusable and a discredit to this organization.”

Mr. Manly said the report would give the gymnasts some relief by knowing what happened in the case. But he said their families wanted accountability and the report did not provide any.

“All those families have to live with the consequences while Jay Abbott and his cohorts can just live the rest of their lives and go off into the sunset with their F.B.I. pensions,” he said.



Source link Nytimes.com

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