The past year has been one that the FBI would love to forget. From partisan text messages, to the Steele Dossier and now the Nassar investigation, the FBI seems to be doing everything BUT their job lately.
Now, the FBI is being accused of dragging its feet during the investigation of convicted pedophile Larry Nassar. According to The New York Times, federal investigators were looking into allegations against Nassar, a former doctor with U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, for over a year.
Instead of making information available to public authorities, the FBI continuously reassigned the case to new federal bureau investigators time and time again, severely delaying the progress of the investigation and putting more lives in jeapardy. While the FBI, led by James Comey, moved slowly, 40 or more additional girls were abused by the now-convicted doctor.
“[A]s the inquiry moved with little evident urgency, a cost was being paid. The New York Times has identified at least 40 girls and women who say that Dr. Nassar molested them between July 2015, when he first fell under FBI scrutiny, and September 2016,” reported the newspaper.
“The silence at times drove the victims and their families to distraction, including Gina Nichols […] who was not contacted by the FBI for nearly 11 months after the information she provided sparked the federal inquiry,” The Times continued.
People who report even small crimes at the local level are usually able to get updates on the investigation from police. During the Nassar investigation, however, the FBI seemed to leave victims and their families in the dark for extended stretches of time.
During an 11-month period, “I never got a phone call from the police or the FBI,” said Nichols, the mother of one of the abused girls. “Not one person. Not one. Not one. Not one.”
Now that Nassar is headed to prison, people who were impacted by the crimes are realizing that the FBI’s slow actions and apparent urging for victims to not talk about their concerns put more young girls at risk.
“The agency left unaddressed the oft-repeated claim by USA Gymnastics officials that after initially presenting the sexual assault allegations to the FBI in July 2015, they came away with the impression that federal agents had advised them not to discuss the case with anyone,” reported the New York Times.
“The ensuing silence had dire consequences, as the many girls and young women still seeing Dr. Nassar received no warning.”
Retired FBI agent, W. Jay Abbott, was involved in the Nassar investigation and described the case as “tricky” when asked why more people weren’t warned that Nassar was using his medical credentials to molest young girls.
“Asked why federal law enforcement officials did not notify people — other gymnasts, parents, coaches — that a potential child molester was in their midst, Mr. Abbott said, ‘That’s where things can get tricky,’” The Times reported.
“There is a duty to warn those who might be harmed in the future,” he told the newspaper. “But everyone is still trying to ascertain whether a crime has been committed. And everybody has rights here.”