Justin Bullock, FISM News
The investigation and eventual conviction of former USA Gymnastics physician Lawrence Nassar for the sexual abuse of US gymnasts, along with the creation and possession of child pornography, rocked the country in 2018. Now, the Inspector General, the governmental watchdog for the US Department of Justice, is saying that the FBI made “fundamental errors” when investigating and prosecuting the Nassar case.
The investigative misconduct was so extreme that the attorneys for Nassar’s victims are considering bringing criminal charges against the FBI agents who carried out the botched investigation.
In a recently released report the Inspector General found that,
The FBI Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required, made numerous and fundamental errors when they did respond to them, and violated multiple FBI policies.
The report goes on to detail the specific ways in which the FBI failed to appropriately investigate this case and specifically calls into question the actions of the lead agent, W. Jay Abbott, during the investigation. Not only did the FBI fail to take the initial allegations against Nassar seriously, delaying the investigation for weeks and months, but they also mishandled evidence and failed to communicate within their own agency or with local and state police departments. Abbott specifically engaged in a number of ethically questionable actions including applying to work for US Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee while conducting the investigation and lying to the media and the Inspector General during and after the investigation.
Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Con.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) have called for criminal charges to be pressed against Abbott, along with other FBI agents involved in the investigation. They previously conducted a number of hearings in the Senate about the case and told the press,
There were a number of documents and oral statements made to investigators that were plainly false…I would like to know why there were no criminal charges and whether these agents will be held accountable. There has to be a measure of accountability.
Following the release of the report, Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said that the Inspector General’s report demonstrated “catastrophic failures at multiple levels of law enforcement, including federal agents who should’ve taken action and willfully neglected to do so.” He then added, “This dereliction of duty is reprehensible, and those responsible must be held accountable.”
It is unclear if the US Attorney General will ultimately bring charges of criminal negligence against the FBI agents involved but the report from the Inspector General is extremely damning and calls for serious accountability.