A watchdog has found that the FBI disregarded allegations made against a prolific USA Gymnastics child abuser, Larry Nassar, and later made serious errors in the investigation, which allowed him to continue abusing women and children.
The long-awaited report gave a scathing assessment of the FBI’s investigation into former team doctor Larry Nassar. Nassar is currently serving an effective life sentence for molesting young gymnasts.
The report found that numerous missteps and cover-ups by the FBI allowed his abuse to continue for months after the case was first opened.
Making a statement on Wednesday, the FBI acknowledged the findings, calling the handling of the Nassar file “inexcusable and a discredit to this organization”.
They added that, “We will take all necessary steps to ensure that the failures of the employees outlined in the report do not happen again”.
The 119-page report by the Department of Justice Inspector General found that despite the seriousness of the accusations against Nassar, the FBI field office in Indianapolis dragged their feet in responding.
In July 2015, following an internal review into Nassar, USA Gymnastics reported a number of allegations to the FBI in Indianapolis. After some “limited follow-up” that summer, the agency “did not undertake any investigative activity” on the case for more than eight months, during which Nassar continued his abuse.
When they were confronted about their mistakes, two FBI officials lied during interviews in an effort to cover up their mistakes.
At the time that the allegations surfaced, one of the FBI agents had been in discussions with the USA Gymnastics officials about a job with the Olympic Committee, that agent retired in 2018.
The other employee “is no longer a supervisor”, the FBI stated and confirmed that the employee will not work on FBI matters until an internal investigation is completed.
The internal investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Nassar case was launched in 2018, after the disgraced doctor was sentenced to decades behind bars. He was accused of sexual abuse by more than 330 women and girls.
“The dozens of little girls abused after the FBI knew who Larry was and exactly what he was doing, could have and should have been saved,” tweeted Rachel Denhollander, one of the first women to publicly accuse Nassar of abuse.
The report came out on the same day the 2021 USA Olympic gymnastics team, which includes reigning world and Olympic champion and Nassar abuse survivor Simone Biles, flew to Tokyo for the Games.
Sources: BBC, SFGate
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