Sports in Society

Senators, gymnasts criticize FBI for mishandling of Nassar case

(L to r) Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols testified yesterday at a U.S. Senate hearingGETTY IMAGES

FBI Dir Christopher Wray in a "remarkable turn ... acknowledged the agency’s mishandling" of the investigation into former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and "apologized to the victims" yesterday at a Senate hearing looking into the matter, according to a front-page piece by Juliet Macur of the N.Y. TIMES. It was the "first time anyone at the agency had submitted to public questioning" about the FBI’s "failure to properly investigate a sexual abuse case that shook the sports world to its core." Wray, who began in his role in '17, said that the FBI had "fired an agent who was involved in the case early." Wray said that he was "'heartsick and furious' when he heard that the FBI had made so many errors in the case before he took charge of the agency." Like the gymnasts who testified, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and several other senators on the committee "expressed outrage that the agents who mishandled the case have not been prosecuted." The Justice Department was "not at the hearing to address the lack of criminal prosecutions." Senators said that they had "asked Justice Department officials to attend, but those officials declined" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).

JUSTICE SERVED? USA TODAY's Nancy Armour writes firing the FBI agent who "ignored (McKayla) Maroney’s complaint and then, almost two years later, spun a false narrative out of it, might bring a measure of satisfaction," but it "doesn’t change the attitudes that caused it to happen in the first place." Criticizing the U.S. Department of Justice for "not having the integrity to show up at the hearing, let alone prosecute the FBI agents involved in the case, might make for good sound bites," but it "does nothing to ensure it won’t happen again" (USA TODAY, 9/16). In DC, Sally Jenkins writes it is "time for a special prosecutor to probe this reeking, bottom-drawered, law enforcement coverup." Jenkins: "After six years of asking, where are the federal charges against those who knew about Nassar and did nothing, whose deliberate inaction let him victimize more women even after Maroney told everyone about him?" Instead, there have been "mysterious refusals to pursue obvious crimes." The lack of prosecution "always has been baffling, and it remains so" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/16).

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