The Department of Justice (DOJ) is now actively reviewing its prior handling of agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who failed to act on accusations against U.S. Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, and may consider charges after all, as reported by USA Today.
In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said that “new information” had been brought to the DOJ’s attention, leading the department to reconsider its original decision to not prosecute two FBI agents who are accused of ignoring warnings about Nassar’s behavior; the negligence of these agents ultimately allowed him to abuse many more victims in the gymnastics program before he was finally caught.
“The survivors who testified so bravely deserve better than they got from the FBI and the Justice Department,” Monaco said during her testimony. “There is a sense of urgency and gravity for the work that needs to be done.”
The DOJ had previously released an Inspector General’s (IG) report back in July which found that “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 IG report also found that the FBI “made numerous and fundamental errors when they did respond to them, and violated multiple FBI policies.”
But after the DOJ ultimately declined to press charges against the negligent agents, public backlash grew against both agencies. In September, four of America’s most well-known female gymnasts, including Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney, testified before Congress to further describe Nassar’s long history of abuse and the FBI’s subsequent failure to put a stop to it.
“It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter,” said witness Aly Raisman in the September hearing.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said during Tuesday’s hearing that “the FBI failed” the victims, and had produced “a stain” on the agency’s legacy.
Following greater scrutiny, FBI Director Christopher Wray announced last month that the special agent who supervised the botched investigation into the allegations against Nassar, Michael Langeman, had been fired. Although a significant amount of blame has since been placed on the former head of the Indianapolis field office, W. Jay Abbott, Abbott retired in 2018 and thus is no longer subject to disciplinary action by the FBI.