Two key senators said the decision by the Justice Department not to prosecute FBI agents who did not act on reports of abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was “infuriating.”
“FBI agents who knew of Larry Nassar’s abuse, did nothing, and then lied about it will face no legal consequences for their actions,” Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Jerry Moran said in a news release. “Dozens of athletes would have been spared unimaginable abuse if these agents had just done their jobs.”
Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, and Moran, a Republican from Kansas, spent years investigating the pattern of abusive behavior in Olympic and amateur sports. That was headlined by Nassar, who was a team doctor for both the national gymnastics program and Michigan State University.
The concerns with the FBI helped lead to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Team USA gymnasts.
The Justice Department announced late Thursday that, after a review, it would adhere to the prior decision not to bring charges against FBI agents identified in a DOJ inspector general review. That watchdog report included allegations that the agents lied to inspector general investigators.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco had confirmed the review during Senate Judiciary Committee testimony last October. But on Thursday, DOJ said in an unsigned news release that the issues identified by the inspector general would not lead to criminal charges.
“While the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General has outlined serious concerns about the former agents’ conduct during the Nassar investigation, and also described how evidence shows that during interviews in the years after the events in question both former agents appear to have provided inaccurate or incomplete information to investigators, the Principles of Federal Prosecution require more to bring a federal criminal case,” the Justice Department said.
The department also said it “will continue to learn from what occurred in this matter, and undertake efforts to keep victims at the center of our work and to ensure that they are heard, respected, and treated fairly throughout the process, as they deserve.”
Blumenthal and Moran said they want further information about the decision to close the matter regarding the FBI agents without criminal charges. They also want to be updated on criminal referrals made by the Senate subcommittee that investigated the abuse scandals.
“Weeks ago, we asked the Department of Justice to conduct a comprehensive review of all information in its possession relating to the Nassar investigation, including criminal referrals made by our subcommittee,” the senators said. “We have not received a response.”