The Federal Bureau of Investigation botched its Larry Nassar investigation and covered up errors, allowing the abuse to continue for months, a damning internal report has revealed.
Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, was sentenced to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting hundreds of girls, including US Olympians Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney.
Now, the Department of Justice’s internal watchdog has said the FBI made serious mistakes in its abuse investigation and did not treat them with “the utmost seriousness.”
“Senior officials at the FBI field office in Indianapolis did not respond to Nassar’s allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency they deserved and required, made many fundamental mistakes in responding to them, and made many fundamental mistakes. violated several FBI policies, ”the report said. .
Nassar was first reported to the Indianapolis FBI office in 2015, but the report confirms that law enforcement “did not investigate the case for more than 8 months” after conducting an investigation. telephone interview with a victim in September 2015.
“During this period, as alleged and detailed in numerous civil complaints, Nassar’s sexual assaults continued,” the report adds.
And when the complaints against Nassar became public, officials at the FBI’s Indianapolis office “did not take responsibility for their failures.”
“Instead, they provided incomplete and inaccurate information in response to internal FBI investigations to make it appear that the Indianapolis office had been diligent in its follow-up efforts and they did, in part, by blaming others for their own failures. “
Nassar was ultimately indicted and convicted of child sexual abuse by a Michigan state court.
He also pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges after a police investigation at Michigan State University, where he worked.
This university reached a $ 500 million settlement with more than 300 of Nassar’s victims.
The report also stated that the FBI office in Indianapolis did not properly transfer the case to the FBI office closest to Lansing, although it told US Gymnastics it did, and it did not. did not inform national or local authorities of the allegations against Nassar.
“As a result, the Lansing Residents’ Agency only learned of Nassar’s allegations more than a year after they were first reported to the FBI, and then only by the MSUPD,” the report said.
The FBI admitted its failures in a statement following the release of the report.
“As the Inspector General made clear in today’s report, this should not have happened. The FBI will never lose sight of the damage caused by Nassar’s abuse, ”the agency said.
“The actions and inactions of certain FBI employees described in the report are inexcusable and discredit this organization. The FBI has taken positive steps to ensure and confirmed that those responsible for the misconduct and breach of trust are no longer working on FBI matters.
“Prior to today, the FBI initiated improvements to ensure that serious allegations, such as these, are quickly shared with our law enforcement partners and within the FBI.
“As a continuation of these efforts, the FBI is fully committed to implementing all recommendations made by the Inspector General.
“We will take all necessary steps to ensure that the employee failures described in the report do not recur.”
The report’s release comes as the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, including superstar Simone Biles, heads to Tokyo for the pandemic-delayed Olympics, which begin next week.
W Jay Abbott, the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Indianapolis, resigned from the office in 2017.
He was accused of waiting five weeks before speaking to the FBI about the first allegations received by US Gymnastics about Nassar’s behavior.