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Tag: USA Gymnastics

FBI Open to Settling Lawsuits by Larry Nassar’s Survivors

Larry Nassar is charged with child pornography.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has indicated that it’s open to settling lawsuits over the bureau’s mishandling of an investigation into sexual abuse by disgraced USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. 

The bureau’s general counsel contacted attorneys representing the victims to say the FBI was “interested” in reaching a resolution in the lawsuits that are seeking more than $1 billion, the Associated Press reports.

More than 90 victims filed the lawsuit in June. 

Attorneys from both sides of the lawsuit declined to comment. 

An inspector general report in July 2021 found that the FBI failed to properly investigate the allegations. The bureau, for example, waited five weeks to interview one of the victims and failed to notify the FBI’s Lansing office or state law enforcement.

The report also accused W. Jay Abbot, the then-special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office, of lying to the inspector general during the internal investigation “to minimize errors” made by his office.

According to the report, Nassar sexually abused at least 70 young athletes between 2015 and August 2016. Nassar is effectively serving a life sentence in prison. 

In May, the Justice Department said it decided it won’t pursue charges against two FBI agents for mishandling the investigation.

13 Nassar Victims Seek $130M in Claims from FBI over Mishandled Investigation

Larry Nassar is charged with child pornography.

By Steve Neavling

Thirteen sexual abuse survivors of disgraced former USA Gymnastic team doctor Larry Nassar are each seeking $10 million from the FBI, alleging that Nassar continued to abuse victims because agents mishandled the investigation, lawyers said Thursday.

“This is the largest failure on the part of law enforcement in the history of the world as it pertains to the protection of children, and there must be institutional accountability to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” attorney Jamie White said in a statement, Reuters reports.

The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded in July 2021 that the bureau bungled the investigation, and the FBI acknowledged the findings and made no excuse for the blunders. 

During the investigation, which began in 2015, the FBI waited five weeks to interview one of the victims and failed to notify the FBI’s Lansing office or state law enforcement.   

The report accused W. Jay Abbot, the former special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office, of lying to the inspector general during the internal investigation “to minimize errors” made by his office.

According to the report, Nassar sexually abused at least 70 young athletes between 2015 and August 2016. Nassar is effectively serving a life sentence in prison. 

Head of FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office Sought USA Gymnastics Job While Failing to Investigate Team Doctor, IG Says

W. Jay Abbott, former special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office

By Steve Neavling

W. Jay Abbott, the former special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office, mulled a potential job leading USA Gymnastics after he failed to properly investigate sexual abuse allegations against the Olympic team’s doctor Larry Nassar, The IndyStar reports.

The discovery comes a day after the Justice Department’s inspector general issued a searing 119-page report accusing Abbott and others within the FBI of mishandling the probe. Abbott, who retired in 2018, also was accused of lying to the inspector general during the internal investigation to “minimize errors made by his office.”

Abbott initially talked with then-president of USA Gymnastics Stephen Penny about a security job at the U.S. Olympic Committee in the fall of 2015, as Nassar continued to abuse young women and children. 

But when Penny resigned in March 2017 over his handling of Nassar allegations, Abbott told an unnamed friend that he was interested in Penny’s vacant job, according to the inspector general report.  

“I also believe it may be in ‘poor taste’ or ‘unprofessional’ to directly contact [the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors Chairman] regarding the position given the circumstances,” Abbott emailed the friend, according to the report. “However, I do believe that if [the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors Chairman] became aware of my availability and interest in the position that he too would see the potential benefits of my leadership to USAG.”

By pursuing the security job, Abbott violated ethics guidelines, the report stated. Abbott insisted he didn’t apply for the job, but records indicate he did. 

There’s no evidence that Abbott applied for the president’s position. 

Neither Abbott nor his attorney responded to IndyStar’s questions about the job discussions.