Ahead of the dramatic and heartbreaking Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Sept. 15th which saw the testimony of Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman, all victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar, the FBI tried to quietly fire the agent who mishandled their cases. Michael Langeman, a supervisory federal agent in the FBI’s Indianapolis, IN office, the man who interviewed Maroney in 2015, was terminated from the bureau two weeks before the hearing. Special agent-in-charge Jay Abbott who was also criticized in a July DoJ report for mishandling the cases had already retired.
During the hearing before the Senate, FBI Director Christopher Wray explained to Senators that Langeman was fired following an internal probe by Justice which found the FBI made what he called “fundamental errors” in the Nassar investigation. The report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz produced shocking results. According to The New York Post,
“They [Langeman and Abbott] were both accused of lying to inspector general investigators when confronted about their inaction in the probe.”
Director Wray was reportedly “frustrated” that he was unable to discipline Abbott who had retired before the report was handed down. The embattled FBI Director who is already skating on thin ice with Republicans on the panel said he was unable to answer why the bureau had yet to pursue criminal prosecution of the two agents for their negligence.
Nassar’s Atrocities Against Young Girls – Ignored By Federal Agents
The first complaint against Nassar came from Amanda Thomashow in 2014 who told Michigan State University that he had “touched her inappropriately during a medical examination, only for the institution’s inquiry to result in no charges and rule that his behavior had been “medically appropriate”. According to the Independent. in July 2015 the investigation by the FBI commenced after USA Gymnastics CEO Stephen Penny reported the allegations from Maggie Nichols to the FBI field office in Indianapolis with the names of three victims willing to be interviewed.
Federal agents interviewed Nichols and ONLY Nichols in September of 2015 and didn’t file their report (called a ‘302’ report) until February 2017. No action was taken on the case for over two years. The press (The Indianapolis Star) got a hold of it in August of 2016, then and only then did things begin moving quickly. Remember this it’s going to be important later.
Timeline excerpt from The Independent,
- 12 September 2016 – The same Midwestern newspaper publishes another article, this time featuring disclosures from two ex-gymnasts who alleged that Nassar had sexually abused them as children in the 1990s and early 2000s. One, Rachael Denhollander, was named in the article and had filed a complaint against Nassar with the Michigan police. The second accuser was later revealed to be Jamie Dantzscher, a member of the US Olympics team for Sydney 2000, who had launched a civil lawsuit against him in California.
- 20 September 2016 – Nassar was fired from MSU.
- 22 November 2016 – Nassar was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County, Michigan, including one with a person under 13. He pleaded not guilty and was freed on a $1 million bond but the state’s attorney general said the matter was “just the tip of the iceberg”, with police revealing that 50 victims had made sexual abuse claims against him.
- 16 December 2016 – Nassar was arrested and indicted on federal child pornography charges. The indictment says he was in possession of “thousands” of indecent images of children collected between 2003 and 2016.
- 10 January 2017 – Eighteen victims file a federal lawsuit against Nassar, Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, and the Twistars USA Gymnastics Club, alleging sexual assault, battery, molestation, and harassment between 1996 and 2016. Nassar loses medical license.
- 19 February 2017 – Three ex-gymnasts – Dantzscher, Jeanette Antolin, Jessica Howard – discuss experiences with Nassar in an interview with 60 Minutes on CBS.
Only after the three victims appeared on SIXTY MINUTES, did the FBI agents bother to even file the report they’d sat on for TWO YEARS.
“It truly feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to help protect USAG and USOPC,” Biles said.
“We suffered and continue to suffer because no one at the FBI, USAG or USOPC did what was necessary to protect us,” she said. “I don’t want another young gymnast or Olympic athletes to experience the horror I and hundreds of others have endured.”
Yeah, whether they were trying to protect USA Gymnastics or the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee these two former agents need to see some jail time for flat-out negligence and failure to report.