Jul 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ watchdog report highlights FBI's mishandling of Larry Nassar case

 Larry Nassar enters the courtroom during the sentencing hearing in 2018
Larry Nassar enters the courtroom during the sentencing hearing in 2018. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

A report released Wednesday by the Justice Department's inspector general criticizes the FBI's handling of its investigation into sex abuse allegations against former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar.

Why it matters: Nassar was sentenced in 2018 to 40–175 years in prison after more than 160 women — including Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Simone Biles — accused Nassar of sexual assault and harassment under the premise of medical treatment.

Driving the news: The watchdog opened an investigation into the FBI's handling of the case in 2018 following reports that the bureau received complaints regarding Nassar's conduct in 2015 which went "largely unexplored" for more than a year, per the Wall Street Journal.

  • "At least 40 girls and women said they were molested over a 14-month period while the FBI was aware of other sexual abuse allegations involving Nassar," AP reports.

The big picture: The report "highlights major missteps" in how the FBI handled the case between the time the first allegations were reported and Nassar's arrest, per AP.

  • The report found that "despite the extraordinarily serious nature of the allegations and the possibility that Nassar’s conduct could be continuing," senior FBI officials did not respond to the allegations with the "utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required."
  • FBI officials also made "numerous and fundamental errors when they did respond to them, and violated multiple FBI policies," the report adds.
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