Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney are among a group of almost a hundred women who are suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allowing serial sexual predator Larry Nassar to continue his abuse even after the Bureau was made aware of it.
WASHINGTON — More than 90 women who say they were sexually assaulted by Lawrence G. Nassar, the former doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics who was convicted on state sexual abuse charges, filed lawsuits on Wednesday against the F.B.I. for its failure to investigate him when it received credible information about his crimes.
The lawsuits come two weeks after the Justice Department decided not to prosecute two former F.B.I. agents accused of bungling the bureau’s 2015 investigation into Mr. Nassar, allowing him to assault girls for more than a year before Michigan authorities arrested him. The agents were accused by the Justice Department’s own watchdog of making false statements about the matter.
“Bungling” is a rather benign word given the horrific gravity of this situation. That the FBI decided not to prosecute the agents furthers the Bureau’s reputation as perhaps both the most inept and corrupt agency in the United States federal government.
Here’s Maroney’s heart-wrenching and damning statement regarding the lawsuit:
“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us — the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Gymnastics, the F.B.I. and now the Department of Justice,” Ms. Maroney said in a statement. “It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process,” she added.
One of the more galling aspects of this tragic story is that the FBI wasn’t working with second-hand information about Nassar. They actually interviewed some of the young women who were being abused and decided not to proceed anyway.
It gets worse:
The Justice Department’s inspector general later accused W. Jay Abbott, who was in charge of the bureau’s Indianapolis field office, and Michael Langeman, an agent in that office, of making false statements to investigators who were looking into their actions.
In a report released last summer, the inspector general said Mr. Abbott made false statements “to minimize errors made by the Indianapolis field office in connection with the handling of the Nassar allegations.”
It’s always unnerving when those tasked with public safety fail this miserably, but it’s absolutely devastating when they’re deliberately ignoring threats to younger, more vulnerable people who are supposed to be protected by the adults around them. The agents involved deserve far more than some slaps on their wrists, especially given the fact that lying to federal investigators is a crime.
I’ve said and written on many occasions that, although I was a fan of Trump’s presidency, I was disappointed that he didn’t gut the FBI after he got rid of James Comey, who was in charge of the Bureau when all of this was going on.
It’s often difficult to successfully sue the federal government. Perhaps the notoriety of this case and the fame of some of the plaintiffs will be what’s needed in this case. Obviously, there isn’t enough money in the world to actually right this wrong, but some form of justice needs to be served.