Over 120 of Larry Nassar’s victims have yet to receive answers five years later as to why it took so long to arrest the abuser.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice was called to action by victims of sex abuse by Nassar. These survivors request they release their inspector general’s report regarding the FBI investigation of the USA Gymnastics scandal.
Their demands were sent in a letter to the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, the FBI, and members of Congress. Pressure has grown as the request coincides with the fifth anniversary of the first report made of alleged sexual abuse toward Nassar to USA Gymnastics, the national governing body of the national team. It has also been two years since the inspector general’s investigation into the FBI was opened.
The FBI has received several questions after enabling Nassar to continue abusing patients between allegations being made in 2015 and his arrest. Larry Nassar, the doctor for the U.S. national gymnastics team, was able to abuse dozens of additional victims in that year and a half.
In 2018, he had pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of 10 minors in a Michigan court. Nassar is currently serving a 175-year prison sentence and is expected to live the rest of his life behind bars.
The matter may now be considered a criminal investigation, according to recent reports. It was disclosed that the report on the FBI’s inquiry was referred to the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section in 2018.
Usually, a referral to the Public Integrity Section would occur after a report is complete. The report has never been released to the public.
What About the Letter?
The letter, signed by victims including Olympic athletes Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, includes many compelling statements regarding the consequences and effects of not releasing the report that would bring to light many of the things Nassar got away with for so long.
The sexual abuse survivors question the Justice Department’s actions by “sitting on the report.” They are aware that the statute of limitations to indict and prosecute those involved can expire. This is a chance they are not willing to take and ask for the report to no longer be withheld.
The letter specifically asks for a call to action by federal law enforcement agencies to expose the truth and initiate reforms to ensure something like this never occurs again. Victims were also sure to highlight the emotional toll these events and the continued search for justice has had on them.
Nassar’s Ripple-Effect Throughout U.S. Gymnastics
In July of 2015, the FBI opened an investigation on Larry Nassar after receiving credible reports of allegations of sexual abuse. These ground-breaking allegations were made by Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols.
By the end of the year, the FBI’s Indianapolis branch was keeping in regular contact with executives at USA Gymnastics. But, it was not until 15 months after Raisman’s initial report that the FBI conducted an in-person interview with her or any other victims or key witnesses.
In an interview conducted in 2018, Raisman recalls questioning the FBI on why they waited so long to pursue the investigation properly. She said they were waiting for the Olympics to be over.
Within the year and three months that Nassar was accused and charged, he was able to operate freely and continued to work with children on a regular basis in Michigan. It has since been discovered that Nassar abused dozens of young athletes before his arrest in November 2016.
This has continued to cause public pressure for justice as the list of Nassar’s victims could have easily been shortened with proper action by authorities. Maggie Nichols, the first of Nassar’s victims to come forward in 2015, claims “everyone” involved should be held accountable.
Last Monday, the victims suing USA Gymnastics and the USOPC filed a motion protesting that executives with knowledge of what occurred are manipulating the need to testify. USA Gymnastics has said in a statement that they acknowledge their mistakes in how they handled Nassar’s crimes, and although it has been five years, these events will never be forgotten and will not go unnoticed any longer.
Earlier this month, Senator John Cornyn of Texas sent a letter to the inspector general’s office asking to release their report. Cornyn has stood by to continue his efforts in finding justice for all and holding those who need to be held accountable, accountable.