Larry Nassar FBI case had 'fundamental errors' that allowed US Gymnastics doctor to keep molesting women, review finds
THE FBI bungled their investigation into pervert ex-US Gymnastics doc Larry Nassar – allowing him to continue abusing women, a watchdog report has revealed.
Dr. Nassar, 57, was convicted of sexually violating young athletes over multiple decades.
The US Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a 119-page report condemning the FBI field office in Indianapolis for failing to respond to allegations Nassar was molesting young athletes with the “utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required.”
And when FBI officials finally pursued the claims of Nassar’s illegal conduct, the report said FBI officials made “numerous and fundamental errors” and skirted critical bureau policies.
Horowitz’s report is the product of interviews with more than 60 witnesses, including victims, their parents, prosecutors and both current and former FBI employees.
Most glaring of the many missteps by the FBI was its lapse in initiating any probe until more than a month after meeting with USA Gymnastics officials back in 2015.
It was that same year that USA Gymnastics cut ties with Nassar and Michigan State University fired him.
Instead of interviewing three of Nassar’s molested gymnast victims, the FBI officials only spoke to one by phone and failed to conduct an interview with the others despite their availability to meet with them.
Moreover, the watchdog report found that when the FBI officials started to look at the handling of the case by Indianapolis field office agents the officials attempted to deny any delays or errors in Nassar’s case and also supplied internal investigators with false statements.
USA Gymnastics conducted its own internal probe and ran down various complaints lodged against Nassar.
They found that as many as 40 girls and women had come forward claiming they were molested over a 14-month period after the FBI was fully aware of other sexual abuse allegations involving the perverted doctor.
Officials at USA Gymnastics also contacted FBI officials in Los Angeles in 2016 after eight months elapsed and almost no action had been taken by the Indianapolis field office.
Nassar was hit with charges back in 2016 with federal child pornography offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan.
Agents found bins full of hard drives containing 37,000 images and videos of child pornography.
Two years later Nassar was sent to prison for 175 years for being convicted of sexually assaulting scores of young women.
He copped a guilty plea to sexually assaulting 125 girls and women between 1998 and 2015.
One of Nassar’s victims was four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles, 23.
In January 2018, she posted on Twitter: "I too am one of the many survivors that were sexually abused by Larry Nassar.
"Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper.
"There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault."
The number of alleged victims who have come forward so far exceeds 250.
A month earlier he was given a 60-year sentence for possessing child pornography after being found with 37,000 images of child pornography.
On Feb. 5 of this year, Nassar was sentenced to an additional 40 to 125 years in jail for a further three sex offenses – bringing his total amount of time behind bars up to 360 years.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told the convicted doctor she had "just signed his death warrant" because he "did not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again."
The FBI acknowledged it fell drastically short in properly pursuing Nassar and took to task its own employees claiming it “should not have happened.”
“The actions and inactions of certain FBI employees described in the Report are inexcusable and a discredit to this organization,” read a statement by the FBI in response to the report’s release.
The agency claims it has corrected the mistakes.
“The FBI has taken affirmative steps to ensure and has confirmed that those responsible for the misconduct and breach of trust no longer work FBI matters,” the statement said.
“We will take all necessary steps to ensure that the failures of the employees outlined in the Report do not happen again.”
One of Nassar’s first victims to publicly accuse the doctor was Rachael Denhollander.
After the report's release, she echoed the inspector general’s scathing reproach of the FBI.
“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,” she tweeted
Three Congress members also scolded the FBI for its "gross mishandling" of the Nassar case by failing to hear his many victims' cries for help.
They also called for Michael Horowitz, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland to come and testify about the case.
“We are appalled by the FBI’s gross mishandling of the specific warnings its agents received about Larry Nassar’s horrific abuse years before he was finally arrested,” said Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Republican Jerry Moran of Kansas.
USA Gymnastics is still trying to repair its reputation after the revelations of Nassar’s conduct and criminal trial led to numerous leadership changes.
There are also outstanding civil court matters involving dozens of Nassar survivors that likely are expected to end in a settlement.
“At the end of the day, what has happened is something that we are learning from and we’re using the past to inform how we go forward,” USA Gymnastics president Li Li Leung told reporters last month.
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