Editorial: Where’s the real punishment for FBI officials in Nassar case?

Keywords Editorials / Opinion

Where are the consequences for those who let the investigation of longtime USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar languish for more than a year, allowing at least 70 more girls and young women to allegedly be sexually abused under the guise of his so-called medical treatment?

That’s one of the key questions we should all be asking ourselves after a damning report by the U.S. Inspector General found FBI officials made “fundamental errors” and exhibited “extremely poor judgment” in the handling of sexual abuse allegations against Nassar, first reported to the agency in 2015.

Nassar’s sexual abuse wasn’t stopped until The Indianapolis Star exposed the allegations in September 2016. He was eventually convicted on 10 counts of sexual assault.

Nassar has received his punishment, though nothing can ever truly make up for the pain he has caused his victims. But at least the former doctor is now serving a 100-year-plus sentence after hundreds of girls and young women said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment when he worked for Michigan State University and Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics.

But where is the real punishment for those who lied and sat on their hands while Nassar continued his sick reign of abuse?

Where are the meaningful consequences for the FBI officials in Indianapolis that the report says did not respond with the “utmost seriousness and urgency that the allegations deserved and required”?

Where are the adequate sanctions against the FBI officials in Indianapolis who did not take any responsibility for the missteps and gave incomplete and inaccurate information to internal FBI inquiries to make it look like they had been diligent in their investigation?

And where is the comeuppance for W. Jay Abbott, head of the FBI’s Indianapolis field office at the time, who the report says lied to investigators to cover his own missteps? Alarmingly, the report also says Abbott talked with a USA Gymnastics executive about getting a job with the Olympic committee while the investigation was pending. He applied for the job, didn’t get it and later retired from the FBI, according to the report.

The FBI says it has “taken affirmative steps to ensure and has confirmed that those responsible for the misconduct and breach of trust no longer work FBI matters.”

But that doesn’t seem nearly punitive enough for people whose actions and inactions allegedly led to the abuse of at least 70 more girls and young women. Some place the number closer to 120, The Star reported.

John Manly, an attorney for more than 150 of Nassar’s alleged victims, has urged that Abbott be prosecuted and insisted that anyone responsible for missteps in the investigation also be held accountable.

We agree. If a full-blown criminal investigation of FBI staff isn’t conducted, it wll only cause more survivors of sexual abuse to keep their pain to themselves and feel that law enforcement won’t help them or take their allegations seriously.

Those responsible at the FBI need to feel more than pangs of regret. They deserve the full scrutiny of the justice system.•


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One thought on “Editorial: Where’s the real punishment for FBI officials in Nassar case?

  1. Where is the accountability of the FBI in the Michigan Governor Witmer entrapment case.

    The FBI with the remainder of the government can not be trusted to protect “We the People”.