Justice Department won’t charge agents who disregarded Larry Nassar allegations

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Warning, the following article contains a graphic discussion of sexual assault.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that it will not bring federal criminal charges against two former FBI agents who flouted charges against Larry Nassar by a group of gymnasts in 2015.

Special agents Jay Abbott and Michael Langeman were heavily criticized in a DOJ report following an investigation into the FBI’s mishandling of Nassar’s allegations. Abbott has retired, while Langemann was fired last year.

Abbott and Langeman were found to have spoken to only one gymnast, McKayla Maroney, but did not properly record the interview until 2017, failed to refer the case to the Lansing office where Nassar was based, and failed to notify any state or local authorities of the allegations. claims by Nassar, who has been convicted and sentenced to an effective life sentence.

Thirteen women who were sexually assaulted by Nassar have sued the agency after reporting them to the FBI.

The agents were also caught making false statements in multiple statements to federal investigators to cover up their mistakes.

In testimony before Congress, Maroney described via ABC News how the agents handled her phone interviews, while calling for them to be held accountable:

I told the FBI about Tokyo, and he gave me a sleeping pill to fly me that day and then worked on me later that night. That night, I was naked and totally alone, and he molested me on top of me for hours. I told them I thought I was going to die that night because there was no way he would let me go. But he did. I told them I was only 15 when I walked through the lobby of a Tokyo hotel at 2am.

I started crying over the memories on the phone, there was only deathly silence. I was absolutely devastated by the agent’s silence and ignorance of my trauma.

After a minute of silence, he asked, “Is that all?”

Angie Poveletis, who prosecuted Nassar as Michigan’s assistant attorney general, also criticized the agents, whom she said were helpless and evasive amid growing public scrutiny of the case.

Wire

When I first received the case in October 2016, I/we had multiple meetings with local FBI/Fed officials. I/We repeatedly asked what was done between the July 2015 report to the FBI and the August 2016 IndyStar report.

Our questions are never answered, always avoided.

— Angie Povilaitis (@AngiePovilaitis) September 15, 2021

FBI Director Christopher Wray has since apologized to the gymnast for his agency’s mishandling of the case.

DOJ’s full statement on inaction against Larry Nassar’s inaction against FBI agents

The Justice Department announced today that it stood by its earlier decision after carefully re-examining evidence gathered in the investigation of two former FBI agents related to their involvement in the FBI’s investigation of Lawrence Nassar, No federal criminal charges are filed. TOLL.

The decision was made after multiple reviews and analyses of evidence gathered in the former agent’s investigation and reflects the advice of seasoned prosecutors. This in no way reflects a belief that the Nassar investigation was dealt with as it should, nor does it reflect an endorsement or disregard for the actions of the former agent.

While the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General outlined serious concerns about the conduct of the former agents during the Nassar investigation and described how the evidence showed in interviews in the years following the relevant events, the two former agents appeared to provide information that did not Accurate or incomplete information provided to investigators, the Federal Prosecution Doctrine requires more federal criminal cases to be brought.

We will continue to learn from what has happened in this case and work to put victims at the centre of our work and ensure they are heard, respected and treated fairly as they deserve throughout the process. To that end, the department continues to assess loopholes in the law to protect the most vulnerable among us from exploitation. Addressing these gaps can help prevent such incidents from happening in the future and hold perpetrators accountable. We stand ready to work with Congress to do so.

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