DOJ denies charges against former FBI agents who botched the Nassar case for a third time


DOJ denies charges against former FBI agents who botched the Nassar case for a third time

In a statement Thursday, the department said the latest decision to deny prosecution of the agents “was made following multiple reviews and analysis of evidence gathered in the investigation of the former agents and reflects the recommendation of senior prosecutors.”

A Justice Department inspector general found gross failures by the FBI to properly investigate complaints from gymnasts who notified the bureau of the abuse in 2015. The inspector general found that the agents had lied to investigators, but the Justice Department declined to press charges during the Trump administration and again early in the Biden administration.

At least 70 athletes have been molested by him since July 2015, when USA Gymnastics officials first alerted the FBI to allegations of abuse against Nassar, and September 2016, when the FBI finally began taking meaningful investigative steps, the inspector general reported.

Last October, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a third review of the investigation into the former agents, citing new information that prosecutors were reviewing. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite led the final review.

“This in no way reflects a view that the Nassar investigation was handled as it should have been, nor does it in any way reflect an endorsement or disregard for the conduct of the former agents,” the Justice Department statement said .

Victims of Nassar, including Olympic gymnasts McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles, appeared before a Senate hearing last year and slammed the FBI and Justice Department for not indicting the former agents.

John Manly, a lawyer representing the victims, criticized the Justice Department’s recent decision to deny prosecution.

“The Justice Department’s continued failure to criminally charge the FBI agents, USA Gymnastics and USOPC officials who conspired to cover up the largest sex abuse scandal in the sport’s history is incomprehensible,” Manly said. “On September 13, 2021, gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols gave a heartbreaking testimony before the Judiciary Committee, pleading for justice and being pledged to action by Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco. There was no action for more than six months and now that promise to the survivors has been broken.”

The FBI has apologized for its mishandling of the Nassar case and said it has adopted a series of recommendations from the Inspector General to prevent the errors from repeating themselves.

Last year’s Inspector General’s report found that when senior officials at the FBI’s Indianapolis field office failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency they deserved and demanded, they made numerous and fundamental errors in responding , and violated several FBI policies in the conduct of their investigative work. The investigation opened in 2018 to determine whether the FBI and its field offices were reluctant to respond to allegations of sexual assault made by gymnasts and the United States Gymnastics Organization in 2015 and 2016.

The release of the 119-page report comes just over a year after more than 120 of the survivors asked the Justice Department to release the findings.
Nassar, 58, is serving a 40- to 174-year sentence after 156 women and girls said he sexually abused them over the course of 20 years.

The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sex conduct in November 2017 for using his profession as a cover for sexually abusing his patients.

Nassar also pleaded guilty to federal charges of child pornography and separate charges of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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