FBI: We Blew It on Larry Nassar Investigation

Watchdog says dozens more athletes were abused while agency mishandled allegations
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2021 6:17 AM CDT
FBI: We Blew It on Larry Nassar Investigation
In this Jan. 24, 2018 photo, Larry Nassar, a former doctor for USA Gymnastics and member of Michigan State's sports medicine staff, sits in court during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

The FBI has admitted that its agents' conduct in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case was "inexcusable" and a discredit to the agency. The FBI issued a statement after the release of a Justice Department watchdog report that outlined massive failures in the investigation of the former Team USA gymnastics doctor, who sexually abused hundreds of female athletes, the Wall Street Journal reports. The inspector general's report said officials with the FBI's Indianapolis field office failed to treat abuse allegations in 2015 with the "utmost seriousness," made "numerous and fundamental errors" in their investigation, and then lied to cover up their mistakes, per the Indianapolis Star. The FBI failed to contact state or local law enforcement about the risk Nassar presented to athletes, the report states.

The report states that after Indiana-based USA Gymnastics reported gymnasts' complaints to the FBI, the agency did almost nothing for a year—and Nassar, who also worked for Michigan State University, continued to abuse women and girls during that time. The report says that according to civil court documents, another "70 or more young athletes were allegedly sexually abused under the guise of medical treatment" before Nassar's arrest in late 2016. The watchdog said W. Jay Abbott, the agent in charge of the Indianapolis office at the time, made "materially false" statements to investigators looking into the agency's mishandling of the case, and violated ethics rules by negotiating for a job at the US Olympic Committee during the investigation, the AP reports. Attorneys for Nassar's victims say Abbott, who has now retired, should be prosecuted. (More Larry Nassar stories.)

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