Loading...

FBI Faces Senate’s Criticism for Inaction on Sexual Abuse of Olympic Gymnasts

September 16, 2021 by Tom Ramstack
United States gymnasts from left, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, arrive to testify during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI's handling of the Larry Nassar investigation on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Washington. (Saul Loeb/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON — The sexual abuse perpetrated against female U.S. Olympic gymnasts by former team doctor Larry Nassar was exacerbated by inaction of the FBI, the athletes told a Senate panel Wednesday.

As a result, Nassar sexually abused at least 70 young women before he was caught and sentenced in 2018 to the equivalent of life in prison, the gymnasts said. He had been the doctor for the USA Gymnastics team for 18 years.

“They need to be held fully accountable,” seven-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles said.

She was talking about two FBI agents accused of downplaying early reports of Nassar’s abuse. She asked that they be criminally prosecuted.

”We have been failed and we deserve answers,” Biles said.

One of the FBI agents accused of a lax response was a long-time supervisor in the Indianapolis office. He was fired by the agency.

The other FBI agent retired under a cloud of suspicion in 2018 as the Justice Department’s inspector general investigated the agency’s response.

“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said.

The inspector general’s report released in July showed it took the FBI more than a year to properly investigate the gymnasts’ allegations, following the first report from Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney.

She gave lurid details of how Nassar sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I told the FBI all of this, and they chose to falsify my report, and to not only minimize my abuse but silence me yet again,” Maroney said.

Her accusation of a falsified FBI report was largely supported by an investigation led by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The inspector general said that not only did the FBI agents fail to check out the sexual abuse claims until more than a year later, they lied about their conduct to investigators afterward. The FBI supervisor in the Indianapolis office who wrote up a report of the interview with Maroney made fundamental errors, the inspector general said.

In addition, an FBI agent who was overseeing the investigation talked to USA Gymnastics officials about getting a security job with the Olympic Committee, the inspector general’s report said.

He did not get the job but when he was asked about it by inspector general investigators, he falsely denied applying for it, the report said.

FBI Director Christoper Wray made no effort to defend the former agents. Instead, he offered apologies and pledged that similar mistakes would not happen again.

“The actions and inactions of the FBI employees embodied in this report are totally unacceptable,” Wray said.

The FBI is implementing all of the inspector general’s recommendations, he said. The nation’s top law enforcement agency also is arranging a series of redundant checks to ensure reports of child and athletes’ sexual abuse are properly investigated, he said.

One part of the checks would include greater information-sharing by FBI agents, Wray said. 

“They need to make sure they are reporting to federal and state law enforcement on a parallel track,” he said.

Wray’s assurances of improvements did little to avoid the wrath of lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Egregious failures like this do not emerge out of nowhere,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the committee’s chairman.

He added, “The FBI’s handling of the Nassar case is a stain on the bureau.”

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said, “This is a serious problem at the heart of the FBI.”

U.S. Senate

October 19, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Senate Wants Tougher Enforcement of Sanctions Against ‘Malign Actors’

WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee tried Tuesday to chart a better course through the minefield of monetary sanctions against U.S.... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee tried Tuesday to chart a better course through the minefield of monetary sanctions against U.S. foreign adversaries. The Senate seeks to protect U.S. economic policies without trampling foreign entities that could be trading partners and allies. However, in an age of... Read More

October 19, 2021
by Dan McCue
Senate to Vote on Voting Rights Bill Wednesday, Despite Filibuster Threat

WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats are moving ahead with plans to vote on the Freedom to Vote Act Wednesday, despite Republicans’... Read More

WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats are moving ahead with plans to vote on the Freedom to Vote Act Wednesday, despite Republicans’ vow to block the bill. The bill, a slimmed down version of the For the People Act, a sweeping elections overhaul passed in the House earlier... Read More

Senate Avoids a US Debt Disaster, Votes to Extend Borrowing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has dodged a U.S. debt disaster, voting to extend the government's borrowing authority into December... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has dodged a U.S. debt disaster, voting to extend the government's borrowing authority into December and temporarily avert an unprecedented federal default that experts warned would devastate the economy and harm millions of Americans. The party-line Democratic vote of 50-48 in... Read More

October 7, 2021
by Dan McCue
Accord Reached on Raising the Nation’s Debt Limit

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats have taken Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., up on an offer that will temporarily end... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats have taken Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., up on an offer that will temporarily end a political standoff over raising the nation’s debt ceiling by allowing an emergency extension into early December. “We have reached an agreement,” Senate Majority Leader Charles... Read More

October 6, 2021
by Dan McCue
McConnell Makes New Offer On Debt Ceiling

WASHINGTON -- Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. made a new offer to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. made a new offer to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on resolving the current Senate impasse over raising the nation’s debt limit. The immediate effect of the offer was for Senate Democrats to delay a vote Wednesday... Read More

Biden: Senate Filibuster Change on Debt a 'Real Possibility'

WASHINGTON (AP) — To get around Republican obstruction, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Democrats are considering a change to... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — To get around Republican obstruction, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Democrats are considering a change to the Senate's filibuster rules in order to quickly approve lifting the nation's debt limit  and avoid what would be a devastating credit default. The president's surprise... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version