Abuse survivors of convicted former US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to express their shock and anger at the FBI’s handling of the federal investigation into Mr Nassar.
And when FBI Director Christopher Wray answered questions about his response to the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s report in his handling of the FBI’s case at a hearing Wednesday, many lawmakers had questions for the DOJ itself that he had asked the two FBI officials. Why did he refuse to prosecute? Agents referred for criminal prosecution over their conduct in the case.
Those questions went unanswered as neither Attorney General Merrick Garland nor any other officials in the DOJ appeared at Wednesday’s hearing, a decision that sparked outrage and anger from Senate panel members.
One of the Justice Department’s most outspoken critics was Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who told gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Maggie Nichols and MacKayla Maroney that they were given an explanation by absentee officers.
“They [criminal] The referral was denied … without any public explanation,” the senator said. “My hope is that the Justice Department, who was invited to appear today and who declined to appear, by stating that Will counter your courage as to why those lies by FBI agents did not lead to criminal prosecution and accountability.”
“They give an explanation to the American people and you,” he continued.
Sometimes the hearings saw raw and emotional testimony, both when the gymnast described abuse by Mr. Nassar and during the description of the reactions of FBI agents to investigate his claims, whose actions and words were said by the athletes. They were cold and harsh.
“What’s the point of reporting the abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?” Ms. Maroney asked during her prepared opening statement. “They had legally valid evidence of child abuse and did nothing. If they’re not going to protect me, I want to know who they’re trying to protect.”
“Not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they finally documented my report 17 months later, they made completely false claims about what I said,” she continued, frankly In anger.
Ms Nichols accused the FBI and two US organizations linked to the case of defrauding her and other victims.
“USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and the FBI have all betrayed me and the abusers by Larry Nassar,” she said. “Larry Nassar’s survivors have a right to know why their well-being was put at risk by these individuals who chose not to do their jobs.”
And Ms. Biles was brought to tears by telling the committee in her own prepared statement that she hoped no other athlete or individual would ever suffer the ongoing trauma that caused her and others to suffer from Mr. Nasser’s actions and suffered as a result of the failures of the investigators.
“I don’t want another gymnast, Olympic athlete or anyone else to experience the horrors that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during, and today,” she said, before breaking down with emotion.
“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame a whole system that enabled and criminalized his abuse,” she continued a moment later.
In his efforts to respond to witnesses and committee members after the panel returned from the lunch break, FBI Director Ray said he would discuss with the Justice Department his decision not to prosecute two FBI agents. Can’t go into your discussion. by the Inspector General, and said it was a “disappointment” that a third former agent involved in the case did not face disciplinary action due to his retirement.
Responding to Sen. John Cornyn, Mr. Ray said, “We’ve made some real mistakes in 113 years.” “What I would say to those women is that I am deeply sorry for what our guys did and more importantly didn’t do back in 2015.”
During questioning by members of the committee, Ms. Raiman and Ms. Biles pushed a path forward to three entities – the USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI – which greatly tarnished their reputations in the wake of the massive scandal, which believed Hundreds of victims are believed to have been involved, including many after the first allegations of sexual abuse were made.
“I think a full and complete independent investigation by the FBI, USA Gymnastics, and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee [is necessary],” Ms Raisman added, explaining: “And then from there we should know the answer to who should be held accountable.
Ms Biles said: “We want to see them … fully prosecuted federally”.
Mr Nassar currently resides in a federal prison in Florida, serving a 60-year sentence. He also faces 40-125 years in prison for a second sentence in Michigan state prison if he should ever be released.
In his second trial in early 2018, a Michigan judge famously declared that he had signed his “death warrant” by putting in a longer second sentence, virtually assuring that Mr. Nassar would never again appear as a free man. I will not stay
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Larry Nassar