After the release of an explosive watchdog report on the FBI’s handling of serial pedophile Larry Nassar, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing to examine the bureau’s botched investigation.
The report, which confirms suspicions that the FBI gravely mishandled multiple sexual assault allegations against Nassar, details serious errors that allowed Nassar to abuse hundreds of women for years.
“The FBI’s gross mishandling of the reports of Nasser’s abuse led to more athletes suffering unimaginable pain. There must be accountability for this chilling failure to properly investigate — and false statements potentially intended to cover-up that failure,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “[FBI] Director [Christopher] Wray must answer to the Judiciary Committee and the American people for the findings of this report, immediately terminate the agent involved, and explain in detail what steps are being taken to guarantee this never happens again.”
BREAKING: Chair @SenatorDurbin, Ranking Member @ChuckGrassley, @SenFeinstein, & @SenBlumenthal announced that the Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the FBI's dereliction of duty in the Larry Nassar case, which enabled the continued abuse of dozens of athletes.
— Senate Judiciary Committee (@JudiciaryDems) July 15, 2021
Despite multiple allegations against Nassar that were reported numerous times to FBI field offices from 2015-2017, a formal FBI investigation wasn’t opened until the Michigan State University Police Department found Nassar’s stash of child pornography after receiving a complaint of sexual abuse from an MSU athlete. Subsequently, the Indianapolis Field Office lied about its handling of the original reports. At least two field offices failed to notify state and local authorities of Nassar’s alleged wrongdoings.
During this time, Nassar kept his positions at MSU, children’s gymnastics club Twistars, and a high school athletic building for months before authorities caught on.
In a 2018 letter, committee leaders led the charge for details about the FBI’s handling of the Nassar case. Now that the report confirmed expansive federal negligence and fundamental errors that led to 70 women being abused in the time period that the FBI knew about the abuse, yet failed to act, the Committee’s hearing will aim to hold the FBI accountable.
Last week, the FBI released a vague statement in response to the released report:
“Prior to today, the FBI initiated improvements to make sure that serious allegations, such as these, are promptly shared with our law enforcement partners and within the FBI. As a continuation of these efforts, the FBI is fully committed to implementing all of the recommendations made by the Inspector General,” the statement read. “We will take all necessary steps to ensure that the failures of the employees outlined in the report do not happen again.”
The FBI did not specify what measures it would take to ensure that young girls would not be exposed to alleged abusers under its watch again. The DOJ’s report included no evidence that FBI officers who failed to follow basic procedures were punished.
Recently, John Manly, the lead attorney for over 150 victims, insisted upon criminal charges against negligent FBI agents.
“The FBI betrayed generations of Olympic champions. It betrayed the hundreds of children Nassar savaged, and it betrayed the American people’s trust,” Manly said in a statement. “Those responsible need to be held to account, with all the force the law can provide.”
Nassar is sentenced to hundreds of years for his crimes, but federal agents who looked the other way currently face no criminal charges for their inaction.
“The IG report confirms my fears that the FBI dropped the ball, allowing abuses to continue for months. The Judiciary Committee’s upcoming hearing is a continuation of our oversight to get to the bottom of this,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said. “The FBI owes the American people an accounting for its failure to protect these children, and explanation for how it plans to do better in the future.”