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Justice Dept. Won’t Prosecute Ex-F.B.I. Agents Accused of Mishandling Nassar Case


WASHINGTON — Two former F.B.I. agents accused of bungling the bureau’s investigation of Lawrence G. Nassar, the previous doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics who was convicted on state sex abuse and federal child pornography charges, won’t be prosecuted, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

The choice ends a review the department initiated in October, months after its inspector general issued a scathing report that sharply criticized the F.B.I.’s handling of the case, which was delivered to the bureau’s Indianapolis office in July 2015.

The F.B.I.’s failure to act on the data it received allowed Mr. Nassar to assault additional girls. Tons of of female patients, including many members of the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics teams, say he abused them under the guise of medical treatment.

The previous agents, W. Jay Abbott, who was in control of the bureau’s Indianapolis field office, and Michael Langeman, who worked in that office, were accused by the Justice Department’s watchdog of constructing false statements when it reviewed the matter.

“This doesn’t in any way reflect a view that the investigation of Nassar was handled because it must have been, nor in any way reflect approval or disregard of the conduct of the previous agents,” the department said in a statement, adding that the choice reflected the guidance of experienced prosecutors.

At the same time as the Justice Department acknowledged that the agents appeared to have made false statements, it said that prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to bring criminal charges.

Mr. Nassar’s victims and their representatives excoriated the choice.

“The continued failure by the Department of Justice to criminally charge the F.B.I. agents, U.S.A. Gymnastics and the USA Olympic and Paralympic Committee officials who conspired to cover up the biggest sex abuse scandal within the history of sport is meaningless,” said John C. Manly, a lawyer who represented among the survivors.

Last summer, the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, accused Mr. Abbott of giving false statements to his investigators quite a few times when asked concerning the Nassar case, “to attenuate errors made by the Indianapolis field office in reference to the handling of the Nassar allegations.”

He also said that Mr. Abbott violated F.B.I. policy by discussing potential job opportunities with U.S.A. Gymnastics at the identical time that he spoke to the organization concerning the allegations against Mr. Nassar.

Mr. Abbott retired from the F.B.I. in 2018, three years before the inspector general accomplished his report. Mr. Langeman was fired soon after the report was released. However the Justice Department selected to not prosecute either man.

Mr. Nassar’s victims, their families and members of Congress were outraged by the inspector general’s findings and the Justice Department’s decision to not explore whether the F.B.I. agents needs to be criminally charged on suspicion of lying to investigators.

Three months later, the deputy attorney general, Lisa O. Monaco, told Congress that recent information had come to light, prompting her to have the top of the department’s criminal division review the matter.

“I need the survivors to grasp how exceptionally seriously we take this issue and consider that this deserves an intensive and full review,” Ms. Monaco said last October.

The victims “were promised motion” by Ms. Monaco, Mr. Manly said. “There was no motion for greater than six months and now this promise to survivors has been broken.”

The F.B.I. met in 2015 with several gymnasts who accused Mr. Nassar of abuse, including McKayla Maroney, an Olympic gold medalist who detailed those allegations in a three-hour interview. She testified before Congress that the F.B.I. responded to her account by saying, “Is that every one?”

“Not only did the F.B.I. not report my abuse, but once they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said,” Ms. Maroney said. “They selected to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester.”

Mr. Nassar continued to sexually assault scores of ladies after Ms. Maroney spoke with the F.B.I. and was charged by the State of Michigan in 2017. He’s serving what amounts to life in prison.

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