Inspector general reviews FBI handling of Nassar allegations
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating how the FBI handled sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
The investigation comes amid allegations that the FBI failed to promptly address complaints made in 2015 against the once-renowned gymnastics doctor. Nassar is now serving decades in prison after hundreds of girls and women said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment when he worked for Michigan State and Indiana-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.
USA Gymnastics contacted the FBI about the allegations in July 2015 but it took months before the agency opened a formal investigation. At least 40 girls and women said they were molested over a 14-month period while the FBI was aware of other sexual abuse allegations involving Nassar.
Nassar was ultimately charged in 2016 with federal child porn offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan.
In the last month, investigators from the inspector general’s office have contacted some of the victims whose cases had been reported to the FBI, including former Olympian McKayla Maroney, according to the person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to discuss the situation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
In May, the FBI said it would conduct an internal review of the Nassar investigation.
“The FBI holds itself and our operations accountable to the highest standards of integrity. When warranted, the FBI reviews allegations in a fair, accurate and impartial manner,” the agency said in a statement at the time.
The FBI and federal prosecutors in Michigan, Los Angeles and Indianapolis have refused to meet with Maroney and her attorneys to explain why it took months for federal agents to open an investigation, her lawyer, John Manly, said.
He alleged the FBI “concealed” what it knew about Nassar by failing to notify local authorities in Michigan or contacting the medical board. Maroney and several other victims Manly represents are “horrified” that dozens of other girls and women were abused after the FBI was told about the allegations, he said.
“They deserved better than what they got,” Manly said.
USA Gymnastics president Kerry Perry, the latest person to face fallout in the wake of the Nassar allegations, resigned earlier this week. Numerous other people have been criminally charged, fired or forced out of their jobs during the investigations into Nassar.
An FBI spokeswoman and a spokesman for the Justice Department’s inspector general declined to comment Wednesday on the investigation.