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Department of Justice report finds FBI mishandled investigation against Larry Nassar

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 14:18:18-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — More than five years after the initial reports of sexual misconduct against Larry Nassar received by USA Gymnastics were handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a new U.S. Department of Justice report says there were serious errors in the investigation.

“The report details that policies weren't followed policies need to be shored up. And certainly that's true. But ultimately, what the survivors want at this point is cultural change in action,” legal representation for survivors of Nassar Alex Cunny said.

USA Gymnastics first received reports that the disgraced Olympic and Michigan State University sports doctor in the summer of 2015. Although he was dismissed from his role with the Olympic team, he continued to treat athletes in and around Michigan up until September 2016 when MSU Police issued a warrant to search his home.

The Office of the Inspector General’s investigation into the FBI Indianapolis Field Office’s handling of allegations against Nassar points to failures in offices in Detroit, Los Angeles and Portland, Maine, that allowed Nassar to continue to assault patients for more than a year before an arrest was made.

“The news of this report is really disheartening. It makes me sick to my stomach,” survivor and board member with Army of Survivors Louise Harder said.

During that year, Nassar continued to treat young athletes here in mid-Michigan through his roles with Holt High School, Twistars gymnastics club and MSU.

“As a result, we have more than 120 survivors that continued to see Larry and were abused by him,” Harder said.

Investigators report at least 70 more athletes were allegedly sexually abused, according to civil court records.

“There was a systemic failure here. And there were individuals that didn't just not do their job they actively concealed Larry Nasser, from being held to justice,” Cunny said.

The DOJ report found “senior officials in the FBI Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency.”

“The FBI and the people you would expect to protect us, support us, and have our backs really did nothing,” Harder said.

Beyond that, the report found the senior FBI agent on the case, W. Jay Abbott, and another unnamed agent made false statements and omitted information in their reports on the case.

“Generally speaking, again, if you're a private citizen, and you lie to law enforcement, in many states, and federally that's a crime,” Cunny said.

Attorneys representing survivors of Nassar’s abuse are calling for criminal charges against Abbot for his mishandling of the case.

“It should only be the beginning of a very important inquiry into how this man was allowed to go back to Michigan State and how FBI agents were turning blind eyes to him doing that. It's disturbing and the public needs to know all these details,” Cunny said.

An associate of Cunny's, John Manly, is the lead attorney for more than 150 survivors. Manly and his associates say that his clients are owed accountability from the FBI.

“The FBI betrayed generations of Olympic champions. It betrayed the hundreds of children Nassar savaged, and it betrayed the American people’s trust. Those responsible need to be held to account, with all the force the law can provide. This can never be allowed to happen again,” Manly said in a statement.

Survivors have been long awaiting the report on the FBI’s role in the Nassar investigation.

On the five-year anniversary of the first report against Nassar to USA Gymnastics, more than 100 survivors called on Inspector General Michael Horowitz to release his report.

Below, find a timeline with important dates as provided by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General

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