Larry Nassar, former US Gymnastics national team doctor, is once again in the news as the controversy around his sex scandal has escalated further. FBI is now under fire for its handling of Nassar's sex abuse scandal as the Justice Department watchdog has highlighted the mistakes of federal authorities and questioned their investigation.
The watchdog released its report on Wednesday and revealed that the FBI did not display seriousness and urgency that the allegations required.
Nassar has been convicted of molesting some of the nation's most prominent female gymnasts. The report describes that the FBI failed to take other steps to mitigate the ongoing threat posed by Nassar.
Nassar's Abuse Continued for Months due to the Attitude of FBI
According to the report, after first hearing of the allegations in 2015, for months agents failed to flag authorities who could have taken action. As the controversy blew up, FBI officials did not take responsibility for their failures, but instead tried to cover-up providing incomplete and inaccurate information when questioned about their response. The FBI field office in Indianapolis dragged its feet in responding. As the FBI made numerous mistakes in this case, Nassar's abuse continued for months after the case was first opened.
In a statement on Wednesday, the FBI acknowledged the findings, calling the handling of the Nassar file 'inexcusable and a discredit to this organisation'. "We will take all necessary steps to ensure that the failures of the employees outlined in the report do not happen again," the agency said.
Who is Larry Nassar?
Lawrence Gerard Nassar is an American convicted sex offender, former USA Gymnastics national team doctor, former osteopathic physician, and former professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
Nassar practiced at the very top tier with some of the most elite American gymnasts. In 1986, he began working with USA Gymnastics, the governing body that selects Olympic teams, as an athletic trainer.
Involved in More than 300 sexual Assault Charges
Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 330 women and girls from the US Gymnastics and Michigan State University, including Olympic stars Aand Aly Raisman.
Some reports suggest that the sex abuse scandal began in 2015 when he harassed the young athletes under the name of 'medical treatment'.
Nassar was ultimately charged in 2016 with federal child pornography offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan.
According to Vox, Megan Halicek went to Nassar as a 15-year-old gymnast suffering from a fractured spine. But during what was supposed to be a routine appointment, Nassar assaulted her: "Again and again and again," Halicek testified in court in January, "he abused me, all the while telling me stories about his Olympic journey."
"I closed my eyes tight, I held my breath, and I wanted to puke," she recalled. "To this day, those feelings are still there."
Nassar's Current Position
At present, Nassar remains in federal prison, where he is serving a 60-year sentence for child pornography charges that stem from material police found on his property in September 2016. He had also pleaded guilty in 2018 to 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan state court, which added up to 175 years to his time in prison.
People Questioning FBI for Showing no Accountability
According to the BBC, Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of abuse, saw a lack of accountability in the wake of the report.
"This report lays bare the corruption, but its conclusion says 'doesn't matter'. Because nothing happens now," she wrote on Twitter.
"These agents retire on government pensions while survivors fight to stay alive," she added. Many people are saying that FBI's negligence is inappropriate as it can motivate the monsters like Nassar to commit more sexual crimes.