Read the prepared testimony of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Thank you for inviting me to testify about the investigation and review of allegations of sexual abuse by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) former United States gymnastics physician Lawrence Gerard Nassar of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Before I turn to my report, I want to recognize and acknowledge the many gymnasts who dared to come forward to report Larry Nassar’s abuses. This includes athletes who shared their concerns with USA Gymnastics in 2015, prompting a referral to the FBI, gymnasts who went to the Michigan State University Police Department (MSUPD) in August 2016, which led to MSUPD’s investigative activity, and Nassar was arrested, and gymnasts who spoke with The Indianapolis Star resulted in that newspaper’s disclosure of Nassar’s abuses in September 2016. As the committee heard today in testimony from McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols, Aly Raisman and Simone Biles, their perseverance and strength continue to the day.
These gymnasts showed remarkable bravery by coming forward to detail the shocking sexual assaults that competed at the highest levels for our nation, along with the Gymnastics Medical Doctor (NASAR) of the United States. And, as you hear today, these athletes report this abuse with the hope and belief that their actions will save other young women and girls from the serial abuse they endured. Sadly, as our report indicates, the response of the FBI agents who obtained that information betrayed their law enforcement responsibilities and their duties toward these victims. As our report further explains, Larry Nassar’s abuses could have been stopped much sooner and had the FBI taken appropriate action in response to the courageous actions of these athletes. Not only did this not happen, but after the inadequate and incompetent response of FBI agents came to light, FBI records were created that falsely summarized the testimony of an athlete detailing the abuses he endured for hours. and incorrectly described the handling of the FBI. matter. Furthermore, when they were called for their actions, two agents lied to our OIG investigators.
While the sexual abuse by Nassar, and the horrifyingly inadequate response by the FBI, cannot be undone, these athletes’ commitment to justice and the pursuit of accountability for all involved in this deeply tragic chain of events will improve our institutions and ensure To help ensure that federal law enforcement responds appropriately and in a timely manner to future child sexual abuse reports. We have made a number of recommendations to protect against the failures outlined in our report, the most important of which is ensuring that allegations of child sexual abuse by the FBI are promptly reported to state and local authorities to prevent further harassment in the circumstances. . type of. We were able to assess and resolve these failures only because of the courage of the athletes who spoke to us during our investigation. I thank them for their cooperation with our agents and their strength in coming forward. Due to their actions and bravery, significant improvements are being made to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
I would also like to acknowledge the important work of this committee, led by Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley, to hold today’s hearing. Additionally, in 2017, this committee held an important hearing on protecting young athletes from sexual abuse, which informed the OIG’s investigation. I also want to recognize the important investigative work of Senators Moran and Blumenthal and their report on Nassar’s abuse, which was also very informative during our review.