The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday released a report denouncing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for failing to properly address numerous allegations of sexual assault that were made against a doctor in the USA Gymnastics program, according to Politico.
The report came from the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), led by Michael Horowitz, which investigated the FBI’s previous handling of allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar, who was accused of – and later admitted to – sexually assaulting multiple girls in the Gymnastics program.
“The OIG found that, despite the extraordinarily serious nature of the allegations…senior officials in the FBI Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required,” the report states. The FBI also “made numerous and fundamental errors when they did respond to them, and violated multiple FBI policies.”
According to Horowitz’s report, the FBI waited for five weeks to interview one girl who alleged abuse by Nassar, back in the summer of 2015. After conducting the interview, the FBI failed altogether to interview two more girls who made similar claims, and didn’t prepare a formal report on the first interview until two years later. By that time, Nassar had already been arrested for other unrelated charges at both the state and federal level.
The report also claims that a senior official in the Indianapolis office, now-retired Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott, was considering applying for a position at the U.S. Olympic Committee around the same time the allegations against Nassar first arose. This may have ultimately affected his judgment in how to handle the claims against Nassar.
However, despite the report’s blistering claims about Abbott and the misconduct of other agents involved in the mishandling of the case, the DOJ nevertheless declined to press charges against any of them. According to FBI spokesman Douglas Leff, Abbott’s retirement in 2018 makes him immune from any disciplinary action. Leff nevertheless called the findings of the report “completely unacceptable,” and vowed that the FBI would be taking steps to prevent such misconduct from happening ever again, without mentioning any specific measures that would be taken.
Suspicions against Nassar continued even after the initial allegations in 2015, eventually leading to a massive expose in the Indianapolis Star. He was subsequently arrested in November of 2016 on charges of child pornography, and after pleading guilty, was sentenced to over 100 years in prison.