(PatriotWise.com)- A new inquiry is being launched at the Department of Justice over how the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled — and botched — an investigation into sexual abuse by Larry Nassar.
On Tuesday, Lisa Monaco, the deputy attorney general, said the new investigation has been opened into the investigation of Nassar, the former doctor for USA Gymnastics. The DOJ had previously declined to prosecute any of the FBI agents who were involved in that investigation.
While testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monaco said:
“The recently confirmed assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division is currently reviewing this matter, including new information that has come to light … I do want the committee and, frankly, I want the survivors to understand how exceptionally seriously we take this issue.”
In September, gymnasts McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles testified in front of the Senate committee. In their testimony, they blasted agents at the FBI for not investigating abuse they suffered while they were under the care of Nassar.
That hearing came about because Michael Horowitz, the inspector general for the DOJ, conducted an investigation that uncovered dire and widespread errors at the FBI. Ultimately, these errors allowed Nassar to continue his abuse of at least 70 additional victims until he was finally arrested.
In that report, agents W. Jay Abbott, the former Indianapolis field office Special Agent in Charge, and Michael Langeman, a former supervisory special agent, were signaled out. Horowitz’s report said those agents waited five weeks before they conducted a phone interview with Maroney, while they failed to even contact any of the other victims.
In addition, Langeman didn’t document the interview with Maroney properly until more than a year after the interview. Even when he did so, it had many omissions and misstatements.
The FBI only recently fired Langeman.
In his report, Horowitz also said Abbott violated many ethics rules when he attempted to obtain a job with the U.S. Olympic Committee while the investigation was ongoing. He even lied when he was interviewed by the office of the inspector general.
In 2018, Abbott retired from the FBI.
While Horowitz referred both of these former agents to be prosecuted for their actions, the DOJ declined to bring charges against either of them in September of last year.
During Tuesday’s panel, Senator John Cornyn expressed his own skepticism that the DOJ would end up taking action in the case six years after the incidents took place. He did ask Monaco what the statute of limitations is for lying to criminal investigators.
She responded by saying she thought it was five years.
That prompted Cornyn to ask:
“So, here we are six years later. Isn’t it likely that any criminal charges for lying to the FBI would be barred by the statute of limitations?”
Monaco said she didn’t want to discuss specific legal theories or evidence that could apply in this particular case.
Other senators on the panel released a statement saying they were encouraged by the DOJ’s new inquiry. In that statement, Republican Jerry Moran and Democrat Richard Blumenthal said:
“We expected the Department of Justice to provide the kind of public explanation for its final prosecution decision that has so far been lacking.”