FBI mishandled Nassar-USA Gymnastics abuse case, watchdog says – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-07-20 02:03:36 –

Washington >> The FBI made a “fundamental” error in investigating allegations of sexual abuse against former U.S. gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar and did not treat the case as “maximum seriousness.” A Justice Ministry inspector general said today. More athletes said they were molested before the FBI took action.

The FBI has acknowledged “inexcusable and distrustful” behavior for major US law enforcement agencies and everyone.

The long-awaited Watchdog report raises nasty questions about how the department and the FBI handled the case, highlighting the FBI’s major failure from the time the allegations were first reported until Nassar was arrested. I will.

The Inspector General’s investigation spurred allegations that the FBI was unable to promptly respond to complaints made against Nasar in 2015. USA Gymnastics conducted its own internal investigation, after which Steve Penny, then president of the organization, filed a complaint with the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis. However, it took several months for the bureau to launch a formal investigation.

At least 40 girls and women were said to have been molested in 14 months while the FBI was aware of other allegations of sexual abuse involving Nasar. USA Gymnastics personnel also contacted FBI personnel in Los Angeles in May 2016 after eight months of inactivity from Indianapolis agents.

The Inspector General’s office responded “despite the very serious nature of the allegations against Nasar,” and Indianapolis FBI officials responded “with the utmost seriousness and urgency they deserve and need.” I found that it wasn’t there.

When they responded, the report said FBI officials had made “many fundamental mistakes” and violated the agency’s policies. Some of the failures were that the investigation could not be conducted until more than a month after the meeting with USA Gymnastics. The agent interviewed one of the three athletes over the phone and never talked to the other two gymnasts, even though he was told he could meet.

In a Watchdog investigation, when the FBI’s Indianapolis field office scrutinized the handling of the issue, officials there were not responsible for the failure and provided incomplete and inaccurate information to FBI internal inquiries. I also understood that.

The FBI accused its employees of not acting in the case, saying it “shouldn’t have happened.”

“The actions and omissions of certain FBI employees described in the report are unforgivable and undermine the organization’s credibility,” officials said in a statement.

“The FBI has taken proactive steps to confirm and confirm that the person responsible for fraud and breach of trust is no longer addressing the FBI’s issues,” the statement said. “We will take all necessary steps to prevent employee failures outlined in the report from happening again.”

The Inspector General interviewed the FBI’s Special Agent for Supervision last September, and the initial allegations reported by Penny and USA Gymnastics were “very vague”, questioning Penny’s credibility and calling him “Snake Oil.” A man like a salesman. “

The special agent also told investigators that the Indianapolis field office did not appear to have jurisdiction to investigate, as the alleged crime did not occur in Indiana. The agent and the FBI supervisor at the office said he had told Penny to contact local law enforcement agencies. This is a claim denied by Penny and the chairman of the US Gymnastics Board.

The FBI said the supervisory special agent “violated multiple policies” and that the investigator did not properly document sexual abuse complaints, mishandled evidence and did not report abuse. When he learned, the authorities said he had taken immediate action.

The report also details that while the FBI was investigating Nasar’s allegations, W. Jay Abbott, head of the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis, was talking to Penny about getting a job on the Olympic Committee. Did. He applied for the job, but couldn’t get it and later retired from the FBI, the report said.

The report also found that Abbott had repeatedly lied to investigators in the Inspector General’s office to “minimize errors” made by his office in handling the case.

Nasar was finally charged with federal child pornography crime and sexual abuse in Michigan in 2016.

He is now decades after saying that hundreds of girls and women sexually abused under the guise of treatment while working in U.S. gymnastics training Michigan State University and Indiana-based Olympic athletes. I am in prison in Indiana.

The Inspector General’s office said it had reviewed thousands of documents and interviewed more than 60 witnesses, including several victims, their parents, prosecutors, and current and former FBI employees.

The FBI’s handling of the case was strongly criticized by members of the House of Representatives, and some senators called on Inspector General Michael Horowitz, FBI Secretary Christopher Ray, and Attorney General Merrick Garland to testify about the case.

“We were appalled by the FBI’s serious mishandling of certain warnings received by agents years before Larry Nassar was finally arrested,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. D-Conn.) And Jerry Moran (R-Kan) said.

Nasar’s victims also strongly criticized the FBI for the mishandling of the investigation.

“After the FBI knew exactly who the rally was and what he was doing, the dozens of abused girls could and should have been saved,” he abused Nasar. Rachel Denhollander, one of the first women to publicly accuse him, tweeted.

John Manley, a lawyer with more than 150 victims of Nasar, argued that Abbott should be prosecuted and anyone responsible for the failure of the investigation should be held liable.

“The released OIG report shocked my conscience,” Manly said. “These women and girls deserve not only a thorough investigation of their case, but also the respect and full attention of those investigating their case.”

US gymnastics is still upset by the collapse of the Nasar scandal six years after Penny first approached the authorities. The national governing body for sports has undergone a major overhaul of leadership, and current president Lee Lee Leon is the fourth person since the 2016 Olympics, hoping to strengthen the protection of athletes. Uses a safety protocol.

USA Gymnastics also remains in court as it continues to mediate with dozens of Nassar survivors, but Leung hopes to reach a settlement by the end of the year.

“After all, what happened is what we’re learning, and we’re using the past to tell us how we’re moving forward,” Leung told reporters last month.

The report arrived the same day the 2021 US Olympic Gymnastics team, a group that includes world-dominant, Olympic champion and survivor of Nasar’s abuse, Simone Biles, flew to Tokyo for the Games. It was.

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