The Justice Department will not file charges against two former FBI agents accused of mishandling the investigation into the sexual abuse of former US gym doctor Larry Nassar, the third time prosecutors have come to that conclusion.
In a statement released Thursday, the department said the latest decision to decline to prosecute the officers came “after multiple reviews and analyzes of evidence gathered in the investigation of the former officers, and reflects the recommendation of prosecutors experienced”.
A report by the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed egregious failures by the FBI to properly investigate complaints from gymnasts, who informed the bureau in 2015 of the abuse. The inspector general found officers lied to investigators, but the Justice Department under the Trump administration and again early in the Biden administration declined to press charges.
From July 2015, when USA Gymnastics officials first notified the FBI of abuse allegations against Nassar, and September 2016, when the FBI finally began taking meaningful investigative steps, at least 70 athletes were mistreated by him, the inspector general reported.
Last October, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a third review of the former officers’ investigation, citing new information prosecutors were reviewing. Kenneth Polite, assistant attorney general, led the latest review.
“This in no way reflects the view that the investigation of Nassar was conducted as it should have been, nor does it in any way reflect approval of or contempt for the conduct of former agents,” the report said. press release from the Ministry of Justice.
Nassar’s victims, including Olympic gymnasts McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles, appeared before a Senate hearing last year and strongly criticized the FBI and Justice Department for failing to charge the former agents.
John Manly, a lawyer representing the victims, criticized the Justice Department’s latest decision to deny the prosecution.
“The Justice Department’s continued failure to criminally indict FBI agents, USA Gymnastics and USOPC officials who conspired to cover up the biggest sex abuse scandal in sports history is incomprehensible.” , Manly said. “On September 13, 2021, gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols shared heartbreaking testimony with the Judiciary Committee, pleaded for justice and were promised action by Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco. There has been no action for over six months and now that promise to survivors has been broken.
The FBI apologized for the mishandling of the Nassar case and said it adopted a series of recommendations from the inspector general to prevent the mistakes from happening again.
The Inspector General’s report last year found that senior officials at the FBI’s Indianapolis field office failed to respond to Nassar’s allegations with the seriousness and urgency they deserved and required. had made many fundamental errors when responding and violated several FBI policies. when they undertake their investigative activity. The investigation was launched in 2018 into whether the FBI and its field offices dragged their feet in responding to sexual assault allegations made by gymnasts and the USA Gymnastics organization in 2015 and 2016.
The release of the 119-page report comes just over a year after more than 120 of the survivors petitioned the Justice Department to make the findings public.
Nassar, 58, is serving a 40- to 174-year state prison sentence after 156 women and girls said he sexually assaulted them for 20 years.
The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor pleaded guilty in November 2017 to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct for using his profession as a cover to sexually abuse his patients.
Nassar also pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges and separate criminal sexual conduct charges in Eaton County.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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