Several US senators have called for FBI agents who botched the investigation into the sexual assault allegations against former US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to be prosecuted in a congressional hearing this morning.
“I understand that it is a long-standing ministry policy not to comment on decisions, not to prosecute, but strong oversight of the Justice Ministry is a core responsibility of this committee,” the chairman said. of the Senate Bench, Dick Durbin. The FBI is dealing with the case of a Nassar is a stain on the desk.
Four members of the Olympics USA gymnastics team testify before the committee. The hearing comes after a scathing report from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s office this summer uncovered a number of FBI missteps in the case.
Nassar is currently serving a state prison sentence of 40 to 174 years after 150 women and girls came forward to expose that he had abused them for 20 years.
“Today, we believe Nasser abused over 300 athletes before he was brought to justice. As details of Nasser’s crimes emerged, there has been a constant theme of neglect. and inaction on the part of those charged with protecting athletes, ”said Durbin.
Decorated gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman as well as FBI Director Christopher Wray and Inspector General Michael Horowitz are expected to testify.
The Inspector General’s report found that FBI Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott and Special Supervisory Agent Michael Langeman conducted a “limited follow-up” investigation in 2015 and neglected to interview two of the three accusers.
“I hope to learn more about what exactly happened at FBI Headquarters other than his children, you who were aware of Nasser’s allegations, how and when they found out about these allegations and what they did. in response, “said Senator Chuck Grassley in his opening remarks. “If there’s one thing the Inspector General’s report illustrates, it says we need to make sure the office is more efficient and more accountable.”
Following the Inspector General’s report, the Justice Department refused to prosecute Abbott and Langeman. Abbott has retired and Langeman has been laid off in recent weeks.
“It is not only that the FBI did not do its job, systematically and repeatedly, it is also the cover-up of the cover-up that occurred afterwards,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said in his opening remarks.
“When FBI agents made misleading material, false statements and omissions returned by the Inspector General for criminal prosecution, those referrals were denied, without explanation, with no public explanation at all,” Blumenthal said. “I hope the Department of Justice, which has been invited today and refused to appear, will explain why these lies by the FBI agents did not lead to criminal prosecution, liability and even days before this hearing. ”
Durbin said he was “disappointed” that the Justice Department refused to participate in Wednesday’s hearing, but promised a watch hearing with them in the fall.
Grassley said he was working on “legislation to fill the legislative gap in the sex tourism law that the Inspector General points out in his report.” This loophole in the law allowed Larry Nasser to escape federal prosecution for assaulting children while traveling overseas, and it may never happen again. “