US investigates FBI handling of gymnasts’ complaints against Nassar
Washington, Oct 5 (EFE).- The United States Justice Department announced Tuesday it was reviewing its decision not to prosecute two FBI agents who dismissed sexual abuse allegations made by several Olympic gymnasts against former National Team Doctor Larry Nassar
The decision to reopen the investigation comes three weeks after Olympic champion Simone Biles and other gymnasts testified before the US Senate and asked the FBI for an explanation of their handling of the allegations against Nassar.
“I want survivors to understand how exceptionally serious we take this issue, and that we believe this deserves a full and comprehensive review,” US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Tuesday at a hearing before the Senate Judicial Committee.
Justice Department head Kenneth Polite will examine “new information that has come to light” about how FBI agents handled the case with “a sense of urgency,” Monaco said.
The gymnasts who suffered Nassar’s abuses and several US senators have harshly criticized the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute two agents who in 2015 and 2016 dealt with Nassar’s case from the FBI office in Indianapolis, where the Gymnastics Federation headquartered.
An internal Justice Department investigation revealed in July that the office, specifically its former Director Jay Abbott and agent Michael Langeman, did not properly investigate what happened and caused the matter to be stalled for months.
That internal report revealed that, while conducting that investigation in 2015, Abbott was in discussions with then-gymnastics federation President Steve Penny about a job on the Olympic Committee, something that ultimately did not happen.
Abbott has been retired for years, while Langeman was fired in September, just before the Senate hearing in which Biles and three other gymnasts who suffered the abuse of the ex-doctor appeared: McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman.
According to the aforementioned internal Justice Department report, Langeman allegedly lied to the inspector general’s office in interviews this year and last year, so it is possible that the newly announced case review will examine possible charges related to those lies.
John Manly, a lawyer representing many of the gymnasts and other women who have denounced Nassar, described Monaco’s announcement as “necessary for the survivors to have justice and to heal the wounds”.
Larry Nassar, who abused more than 330 youths, is serving a sentence of between 40 and 175 years added to another of 60 years for child pornography, a de facto life sentence.
He received his convictions between December 2017 and February 2018, in trials that coincided with the outbreak of the #MeToo movement. EFE