A U.S. Senator is asking the Justice Department to release its investigation into why the FBI waited nearly a year to investigate a report from USA Gymnastics that Larry Nassar was sexually abusing athletes.
In a letter to Michael Horowitz, the inspector general for the Department of Justice, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said it has been almost two years since the investigation into the FBI’s delays was first reported.
“I am deeply concerned about evidence of the FBI’s lack of urgency, even as they were uncovering clear information that a predator continued to harm the athletes in his care,” Cornyn wrote. “McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Maggie Nichols and Jordyn Weiber (sic) deserve the rights granted them under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, and that includes the right to the release of this report.
“I am especially concerned as officials apparently told parties to the case that the completed report had been provided to the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section more than a year ago.”
Maroney, Raisman, Nichols and Wieber are among more than 350 girls and young women who said they were sexually abused by Nassar, often under the guise of medical treatment. The longtime physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University is serving an effective life sentence on federal and state charges.
After overhearing Nichols and Raisman talking in June 2015, Nichols’ coach reported to USA Gymnastics in June 2015 that several gymnasts were “uncomfortable” with Nassar’s treatments. The governing body waited almost five weeks before alerting the FBI on July 27, 2015.
The FBI opened a case, but a Congressional investigation found it “dragged on and was shuffled between field offices.” Only after USA Gymnastics inquired about the status of the case in the spring of 2016 did the FBI resume the investigation.
Still, neither Michigan State nor a gym in Michigan where Nassar treated athletes was warned. It was only after Rachael Denhollander detailed her abuse in a September 2016 story in the Indianapolis Star, part of the USA TODAY Network, that allegations against Nassar became public.
Nassar was arrested in December 2016, after the FBI found thousands of images of child pornography. At least 40 women and girls are believed to have been abused in the 17 months between when USA Gymnastics reported Nassar to the FBI and his arrest.
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