The Justice Department said on Thursday it would not press charges against two former FBI agents accused of failing to properly investigate US gym doctor Larry Nassar after a “thorough review” of the evidence.
The agency said in a press release that it stands by an earlier decision against pursuing a criminal case against Michael Langeman and his now-retired boss W. Jay Abbott, the officer in charge of the office. exterior of the FBI in Indianapolis.
“This decision comes after multiple reviews and analyzes of the evidence gathered in the investigation of former agents, and reflects the recommendation of experienced prosecutors,” the Justice Department said. “It in no way reflects the view that the investigation of Nassar was conducted as it should have been, nor does it in any way reflect approval of or contempt for the conduct of former officers.”
Lead counsel representing victims in the Nassar case, John Manly, responded by lambasting the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland for what he called a “complete failure” to charge officers who “have violated their oaths of office and participated in the cover-up”. of the worst sexual assault scandal in sports history.
The decision also sparked bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill.
“This decision is infuriating. FBI agents who knew about Larry Nassar’s abuse, did nothing, and then lied about it will face no legal consequences for their actions,” said Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Jerry Moran of Kansas in a joint statement.
“Our frustrations are compounded by the fact that the Department has provided no public explanation for this decision,” they added. “As noted earlier, the Justice Handbook authorizes a closure letter explaining the Department’s decision-making in similar situations particularly when law enforcement officers are accused of misconduct or behavior This case certainly qualifies for such treatment.
The Justice Department’s Criminal Division launched a new review of officers in October, just months after the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s Office discovered the couple had failed to respond to allegations the gymnasts claimed that they had been sexually abused by Nassar “with the urgency that the allegations required.”
The report further suggested that the two officers lied to investigators to “make it seem like they had been diligent in responding to the sexual abuse allegations.”
The Justice Department’s initial decision not to prosecute the officers prompted the reconsideration.
Nassar pleaded guilty in 2018 to abusing 10 of more than 265 patients who have come forward to say they were assaulted. He is serving up to 175 years in prison.