DOJ slams ‘appalling’ and ‘inexcusable’ behavior by FBI in USA gymnastics team sexual abuse case

The Justice Department’s Inspector General has issued a scathing report that slams the FBI’s failure to adequately investigate sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, calling the conduct of agents “appalling” and “inexcusable.”

The FBI conducted a 14-month long investigation into the abuse claims against Nassar. According to the 119-page report, during that time they made serious errors and failed to take any action for months. Then they attempted to cover up their mistakes.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz stated in the report that the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis “failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required.”

Indianapolis Field Office Special Agent in Charge (SAC) W. Jay Abbott was excoriated in the report for lying to cover up investigative mistakes and missteps. “Abbott made materially false statements during his OIG interviews to minimize errors made by the Indianapolis Field Office in connection with the handling of the Nassar allegations,” Horowitz stated.

(Video Credit: ABC News)

Abbott is also accused of a breach in bureau ethics for submitting his resume while trying to obtain a job as the chief security officer with USA Gymnastics after finding out about Nassar’s potential abuses. He did not get the job.

The report tore into the agents involved, stating, “The actions and inactions of the FBI employees described in the Report are inexcusable and a discredit to this organization and the values we hold dear. At the FBI, we consider our mission to protect and serve the American people to be the highest responsibility. The conduct and facts in the Report are appalling, and we appreciate your continued efforts to examine it and recommend further improvements and safeguards.”

The report is in response to allegations that the FBI did not carry out their duty when addressing complaints that were made in 2015 against Nassar. It took months for the agency to open an investigation into the doctor after USA Gymnastics contacted them.

At least 40 girls and women were abused and molested during the 14 months that the FBI knew of the sexual abuse claims against Nassar.

An attorney for many of Nassar’s alleged victims, named John Manly, told The New York Times he believes the number of victims could be even higher. He stated that as many as 120 girls and women were abused during that timeframe. One victim was only eight years old.

“This is a devastating indictment of the FBI and the Department of Justice that multiple federal agents covered up Nassar’s abuse and child molestation. No one seems to give a damn about these little girls,” Manly angrily remarked.

“These women and girls not only deserved to have their case thoroughly investigated but deserved the respect and full attention of those investigating their case,” Manly commented in a statement. “Instead, at least two senior FBI agents lied, intentionally fabricated a victim’s statement, and falsely denied any crime had been committed, in order to protect USA Gymnastics; presumably in exchange for the prospect of a high paying post bureau job in the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.”

The report also noted that an unnamed FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) in Indianapolis waited 17 months after interviewing one of the victims to write the interview summary. That summary was in turn full of false statements and omitted key information.

“There were a number of documents and oral statements made to investigators that were plainly false,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who led a Congressional investigation of the Nassar case along with Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) according to ESPN. “I would like to know why there were no criminal charges and whether these agents will be held accountable. There has to be a measure of accountability.”

The Justice Department is declining to prosecute Abbott and the unnamed special agent according to the report.

“This should not have happened. The FBI will never lose sight of the harm that Nassar’s abuse caused,” the agency said in a statement.

Nassar was sentenced to life after being charged in 2016 with federal child porn offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan. He was sentenced to a 40-to-174-year state prison sentence. Nassar was accused of sexual abuse by more than 156 women and girls over a 20-year time period, including Olympic stars Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.

Many are disgusted with the FBI over their disgraceful behavior and unprofessional conduct:

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