Sen. Patrick Leahy on Wednesday pressed Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on the Department of Justice‘s decision not to prosecute two ex-FBI agents accused of lying in the sex abuse probe of former Olympics gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
The Vermont Democrat criticized the decision, saying he has seen “many people prosecuted for lying to FBI agents.”
“Here, you had two FBI agents who lied to FBI agents. One was fired, the other resigned. No prosecutions,” Mr. Leahy said.
He asked if Mr. Garland is reviewing the department’s decision and, if so, what progress has been made.
“We are reviewing this matter, new evidence has come to light and that is cause for review of the matters that you’re discussing,” the attorney general said.
Mr. Garland has received criticism from both sides of the aisle over the DOJ’s apparent lack of action regarding the FBI’s mishandling of the Nassar sex abuse probe.
A DOJ inspector general report from July revealed the FBI failed to properly investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Nassar for more than a year, and during that time, at least 70 more gymnasts were abused by the ex-Olympics doctor.
During a Senate Judiciary hearing last month, Olympian McKayla Maroney, 25, said she testified about the abuse to an FBI agent in the summer of 2015 and said her report was not documented until 17 months later.
“By not taking immediate action from my report, they allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year, and this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue,” Ms. Maroney said.
After reading the inspector general’s report, she said, she realized the FBI had falsified her statement about the abuse.
“What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?” Ms. Maroney asked.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified during the hearing that the agent’s falsified statement “could have actually jeopardized the criminal investigation by providing false information that could have bolstered Nassar‘s defense.”
Ms. Maroney said it is the DOJ‘s job to hold the FBI agents accountable for lying.
“I am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing because my abuse was enough and we deserve justice,” she said.
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray testified that the agent who falsified Ms. Maroney’s statement had been fired within the past two weeks. W. Jay Abbott, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis field office during the botched investigation, resigned in 2018.
More than 150 women and girls testified in court that Nassar sexually abused them. Nassar was sentenced to 175 years behind bars after pleading guilty in 2018 to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and federal child pornography charges.