#childsafety | Garland supports releasing report on FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar case – Orange County Register


Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday that he supports releasing the results of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar/USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal.

Garland also said if confirmed he would also consult with the Justice Department’s inspector general about the USA Gymnastics/Nassar investigation.

Between August and October 2018, Office of Inspector General investigators and FBI agents from local field offices interviewed Olympic champions Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber and Maggie Nichols (a 2015 World champion), and their parents about the FBI’s investigation of Nassar, according to interviews and documents obtained by the Southern California News Group.

The Justice Department, however, still has not released the OIG report on the FBI’s role in the Nassar scandal nearly 2 ½ years after the OIG official leading the investigation told parties in the case that the investigators’ report had been forwarded to the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section. Two federal prosecutors in the PIS also confirmed they had received the report nearly 2½ years ago, the attorney involved in the case said.

The DOJ said last July that it was continuing to investigate the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against former U.S. Olympic and USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar, according to department’s inspector general.

Michael E. Horowitz, the inspector, in a letter to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) stated that the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General’s 31-month investigation “of the allegations concerning the FBI’s handling of the Nassar investigation is ongoing, and we are working diligently to complete it.”

Garland was asked about the OIG investigation by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) during his confirmation hearing Monday.

“I will definitely consult with the inspector general,” Garland said.

He added that “I do believe in making these reports public” to the extent allowable by law.

Horowitz’s letter was in response to a June 2 letter by Cornyn to Horowitz that called for the release of the OIG report. Cornyn wrote in the letter that he was “deeply concerned about evidence of the FBI’s lack of urgency” in investigating allegations against Nassar in 2015 and 2016.

“When the investigation is concluded, and we have finished our final report, we will proceed with our usual process for releasing our findings publicly in accordance with relevant laws,” Horowitz wrote Cornyn.

“The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General is investigating the allegations concerning the FBI’s handling of the Nassar investigation, and the victims and the public should rest assured our findings will be made public at the end of our investigation,” Stephanie M. Logan, senior public affairs specialist for the Office of the Inspector General, said in an email to SCNG at the time.

Gymnasts, their parents and attorneys have accused the FBI of enabling Nassar’s continued abuse of young female athletes by the plodding pace of an investigation that lacked the sense of urgency the gravity of the charges required and potentially aided USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny in the organization’s alleged coverup. Parents said they repeatedly offered FBI agents emails, texts and other materials that pointed to an alleged coverup by USA Gymnastics, only to be informed by agents that their only focus was Nassar.

Nassar, according to court documents, sexually abused at least 40 young athletes between Penny’s first contact with the FBI agent in charge of the bureau’s Indianapolis office in July 2015 and September 2016, when Nassar’s abuse became public. The number of victims in that window could actually surpass 100, according to persons familiar with dozens of Nassar-related lawsuits.

Nassar announced in September 2015 he was retiring as USA Gymnastics women’s national team physician. Neither he nor the organization disclosed the reason for his leaving

Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges in 2017. He also pleaded guilty in 2018 to a total of 10 sexual assault charges in two Michigan state cases.



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