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Tag: W. Jay Abbot

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.