Sunday, February 4, 2018

The FBI and the Larry Nassar Case

Supporters of the FBI are bemoaning the fact that the agency’s reputation has been compromised by the Nunes memo. In truth, it was compromised by the behavior of leading agents… but why quibble about details.

Now, we read that the FBI had been informed of the activities of serial sexual predator and sports doctor Larry Nassar a year before he was brought to justice. More than one FBI office received the information. Collectively, they failed at their task. In the meantime Dr. Nassar molested dozens more young girls.

When you want to maintain your reputation as the world’s leading law enforcement agency, you should do your job. Rather than try to influence presidential elections, why not bring sexual predators to justice?

For more than a year, an F.B.I. inquiry into allegations that Lawrence G. Nassar, a respected sports doctor, had molested three elite teenage gymnasts followed a plodding pace as it moved back and forth among agents in three cities. The accumulating information included instructional videos of the doctor’s unusual treatment methods, showing his ungloved hands working about the private areas of girls lying facedown on tables.

But as the inquiry moved with little evident urgency, a cost was being paid. The New York Times has identified at least 40 girls and women who say that Dr. Nassar molested them between July 2015, when he first fell under F.B.I. scrutiny, and September 2016, when he was exposed by an Indianapolis Star investigation. Some are among the youngest of the now-convicted predator’s many accusers — 265, and counting.
The silence at times drove the victims and their families to distraction, including Gina Nichols, the mother of the gymnast initially known as “Athlete A”: Maggie Nichols, who was not contacted by the F.B.I. for nearly 11 months after the information she provided sparked the federal inquiry.

“I never got a phone call from the police or the F.B.I.” during that time, Gina Nichols, a registered nurse, said. “Not one person. Not one. Not one. Not one.”

And also:

The F.B.I. declined to answer detailed questions about the speed and nature of its investigation, or to provide an official who might put the case in context. Instead, it issued a 112-word statement asserting that the sexual exploitation of children “is an especially heinous crime,” and that “the safety and well-being of our youth is a top priority for the F.B.I.”


The agency left unaddressed the oft-repeated claim by U.S.A. Gymnastics officials that after initially presenting the sexual assault allegations to the F.B.I. in July 2015, they came away with the impression that federal agents had advised them not to discuss the case with anyone. The ensuing silence had dire consequences, as the many girls and young women still seeing Dr. Nassar received no warning.

The Times piece reports extensively on the Nassar case. It is appalling but necessary reading.


Sam L. said...

Why should the FBI be involved? Ought it not be a local or state police involvement?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

If you look at the Clive Bundy situation, this is part-and-parcel with shoddy work. The Bundy case judge really handed it to the FBI.

This is also another case of fee judicial figures, law enforcement officials or bureaucrats being held accountable. In many ways, this case is similar to the pattern/unfolding of the Flint water disaster that came out last year.

Yes, Dr. Nassar is going to jail, but the problem remains: people do not question the human motivations of credentialed or uber-intelligent professionals. They are believed to be exempt from the more sordid elements of the human condition. Until there is a valid credential for morals and ethics, we should maintain healthy skepticism and transparent oversight.

Jack Fisher said...

Sam, there are many federal sex crimes or because the state crimes cross state lines.

IAC, what's a "fee judicial figure"?