One of the biggest scandals involved in the Larry Nassar case was the fact that so many people knew what was happening – and no one did anything about it. No one listened to the reports. No one reached out to the authorities to tell them what had been alleged. No one confronted Nassar, or asked his victims to clarify their claims. Everyone stayed mute, and the abuse continued unchecked for years. But what role did the FBI play in that culture of silence?
Did the FBI put their own political agenda before sex abuse victims?
The story went public when Rachel Denhollander, a former gymnast and one of Nassar’s victim’s shared her experiences with the Indianapolis Star. The story initiated a huge investigation at multiple levels, and involving many different agencies and organizations in different states. But the FBI already know about what was going on. Reports of Nassar’s sexually invasive “therapies” had already made it all the way to the agency. But they were in no hurry to investigate.
The FBI’s investigation into Nassar was still “incomplete”
At the time Denhollander’s allegations exploded across the nation’s media, the FBI had known about Nassar for years! A workplace investigator was hired by USA Gymnastics to look into the allegations. Three gymnasts were identified as possible victims, and their names were passed on to the FBI field office in Indianapolis. But feds there only spoke with one of the three women named in the report. And then the investigation was transferred from Indianapolis to Detroit, were it seems to have stalled completely.
Reports show that the feds did literally nothing to pursue the claims
Reports generated by the FBI headquarters after the case was transferred state that “there is no available evidence that the Detroit office interviewed any witnesses, or undertook any other external investigative steps with regard to the Nassar allegations” from September 2015 through April 2016. After waiting to hear from the Detroit office and getting nothing but silence for months, Paul Parilla (then the vice chair of USA Gymnastics) made another report to the FBI offices in Los Angeles. And still nothing seemed to be happening.
In fact, it seems they were actively stalling the case!
When investigators commissioned by the United States Olympic Committee requested documentation from the FBI concerning their findings in the Nassar case, they were denied. Why? The agency claimed that “the requested material was exempt from disclosure under applicable law.” So they were no help there. And they’ve been no help since. But the main question here is why? Why weren’t they doing everything in their power to stop a predator? Why weren’t they actively investigating Nassar and the claims against him? Why did they do nothing?
We don’t have an answer for that. And the FBI won’t provide one.
When they were confronted about the plodding pace of their investigation, the FBI refused to comment. Instead, they issued a statement claiming that the sexual exploitation of children “is an especially heinous crime,” in the eyes of the agency, and that “the safety and well-being of our youth is a top priority for the F.B.I.” But that simply doesn’t jibe with the facts of the case. So what gives? The answer: we may never know. But we’ll be watching to see what they say and do next, and we’ll keep you posted…