John Manly, an attorney for many of Nassar’s alleged victims, called the decision “incomprehensible” and said the FBI agents “broke their oath of office and helped cover up the worst sexual assault scandal in sporting history.” He said the timing of the announcement – just before a bank holiday weekend and during coverage of a school shooting – “is another cynical attempt at the [Justice Department] to cover up FBI complicity” in the Nassar scandal.
The decision marks the For the third time, federal prosecutors were examining whether a senior FBI official and a case worker should be charged with lying about their work on the Nassar case. Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco opened the review after several world-famous gymnasts tearfully testified before Congress in September, describing in chilling detail the abuse they had endured and their disbelief at the FBI’s decision not to investigate Nassar further after the allegations against him first surfaced.
Announcing the review, Monaco said officials would look again at the issue as new evidence had surfaced. Though they didn’t specify what that evidence was, lawmakers have slammed the Justice Department for not filing charges after the agency’s inspector general concluded that a supervisory agent and his chief had lied to internal investigators to correct their mistakes to cover up.
Nassar spent thousands on himself in prison while paying his victims little
It is rare for the Justice Department to even consider reopening a case that has been closed without charge. One of Nassar’s agents retired years ago and the other was fired last summer after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s scathing report found serious missteps in the FBI’s handling of allegations against Nassar in 2015, which allowed him to… allowed more patients to be harassed previously The following year, he was arrested by state authorities.
In its statement, the Justice Department said it will “continue to learn from events in this matter and make efforts to keep victims at the center of our work and ensure they are heard, respected and treated fairly throughout the process.” as they deserve,” and said it wants to work with Congress to fill unspecified loopholes in the law to “prevent such events from happening in the future and hold perpetrators accountable.”
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) called the decision “annoying.” In a joint statement, they said: “FBI agents who knew about Larry Nassar’s abuse, did nothing, and then lied about it will have no legal consequences for their actions. Dozens of athletes would have been spared unimaginable abuse if these agents had simply done their jobs and held accountability for their actions.”
Simone Biles and three other high-profile gymnasts gave emotional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year about Nassar’s abuse and the FBI’s inaction.
“I blame Larry Nassar, and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles told the committee.
More than 330 girls and women have come forward to say they have been harassed by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment. He was eventually convicted of state sexual abuse and federal child pornography charges and is serving an effective life sentence.
Monaco and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray have also publicly apologized to Nassar’s victims, and Wray called the FBI’s failure “inexcusable.” It should never have happened and we are doing everything we can to make sure it never happens again.”
Biles and other gymnasts give tearful testimonies
The essential conduct at issue in the Nassar case occurred within the federal statute of limitations for prosecuting those involved.
According to Horowitz’s report, Supervisor Special Agent Michael Langeman, who was fired last year, allegedly lied to the inspector general’s office in interviews in 2020 and 2021.
Langeman was questioned at length as to why he was not pursuing a case against Nassar, whether he had in fact escalated the matter to another FBI office, and why he was writing a report on an interview with a key victim more than a year after the interview took place.
The inspector general’s report did not name Langeman, but found that he lied to investigators “to minimize or excuse his errors.”
Horowitz also found that while the FBI was investigating the Nassar allegations in late 2015, the head of the FBI’s Indianapolis office, W. Jay Abbott, was speaking with Stephen Penny, then-President of USA Gymnastics, about giving Abbott a job to obtain at the Olympic Committee.
The inspector general said Abbott applied for the position but didn’t get it, and when confronted in 2019, falsely claimed to the inspector general that he did not apply for the position. Penny quit his job at USA Gymnastics under pressure in 2017 and was charged in 2018 with evidence tampering in a sex abuse case. Those charges were dismissed last month. Abbott retired from the FBI.
Langeman and Abbott did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
One of the FBI’s greatest failings in the Nassar case was failing to alert state authorities to the possibility that he might commit child sex crimes—crimes that prosecutors could, and eventually did, charge him with.
In response to these criticisms, Justice Department officials have urged federal prosecutors and agents to coordinate more closely with state and local law enforcement agencies on potential crimes that may be outside of federal law but should still be prosecuted.
“Even in cases where the federal government cannot bring charges of its own, our obligation to protect victims of crime and ensure public safety does not end,” Monaco wrote in a Justice Department memo. “Instead, appropriate coordination with state, local, or tribal law enforcement partners may become more important, particularly in the face of apparent, ongoing criminal behavior that puts victims at risk.”