Over 120 Larry Nassar Survivors Demand DOJ Release FBI Report Findings
More than 120 women formerly assaulted by disgraced USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar, have issued a demand letter to the Department of Justice requesting a release of the inspector general’s report detailing the FBI’s handling of the well-known sex abuse scandal. Included in the letter were signatures of gold medalists Simon Biles and Aly Raisman, along with countless additional Nassar survivors. The letter was sent to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the FBI, and multiple ranking members of Congress on Wednesday. The letter’s date is significant, as it marks five years since a gymnast first exposed Nassar’s widespread abuse by reporting it to USA Gymnastics (USAG) officials.
The letter alleged the FBI failed to follow through on an investigation into multiple sexual assault claims against Nassar when he was a sports doctor with Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. It cited former USAG President Steve Penny, who is reported to have brought the allegations to the agency’s attention in July 2015 after NCAA individual gymnastics champion Maggie Nichols came forward to report Nassar. Following the allegations being made, the FBI reportedly interviewed only one alleged victim via telephone. Moreover, the FBI did not interview any additional key witnesses in person until spring of 2016.
From the time Penny brought the allegations to light to the time the in person interviews commenced in 2016, Nassar is alleged to have abused 40 additional young female athletes before the allegations were ever made public. The letter indicates September 2016 was the earliest time any allegations were publicly disclosed.
Furthermore, the letter indicates the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General was reportedly investigating the situation in 2018, but the results of said investigation have yet to be released.
“It is clear that the FBI failed to protect our nation’s finest athletes and many other vulnerable children and young women from a vicious sexual predator,” the letter stated. “But we still do not know who exactly in the FBI participated in the cover-up and whether misconduct reached into the higher ranks of the Justice Department.”
Additionally, the letter asks, “Why is the Justice Department sitting on this report?” “We do not want it withheld and then have authorities claim they cannot indict and prosecute the people involved in criminal conduct because the statute of limitations has expired,” it said.
“It is important for our healing for all the facts to come out and for wrongdoers to be held accountable. It is also important to maintain public confidence in our federal law enforcement agencies by exposing the truth and initiate reforms so that this never happens again.”
A similar request from U.S. Senator John Cornyn was reportedly made a few days prior to the letter’s release. That initial request is said to have detailed why the senator is “deeply concerned about evidence of the FBI’s lack of urgency.”
More than 120 named and unnamed survivors signed the letter.
Following hundreds of women and girls coming forward with their stories of sexual abuse, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. Throughout high-profile courtroom proceedings in 2018, survivors provided impact statements recounting how Nassar sexually abused them over two decades under the guise of providing medical treatment. Many have since filed civil lawsuits against the institutions they contend allowed his abuse to go unchecked for several years.
According to NBC News, Stephanie Logan, a spokesperson for the inspector general’s office, asserted the watchdog agency is “investigating the allegations concerning the FBI’s handling of the Nassar investigation, and the victims and the public should rest assured our findings will be made public at the end of our investigation.”
CNN has reported the USA Gymnastics organization’s claim that it “reported Nassar to the FBI in July 2015 and to a different FBI office again in April 2016.” Officials are reportedly investigating whether or not FBI agents failed to address the allegations of sexual assault in a timely manner.