Department of Justice Won't Pursue Charges Against FBI Agents in Larry Nassar Case

Adam WellsMay 27, 2022

FILE - Dr. Larry Nassar, appears in court for a plea hearing on Nov. 22, 2017, in Lansing, Mich. More than 1,000 sexual abuse victims of a University of Michigan sports doctor would get a window in which they could sue the school for damages under bills that the Legislature will consider. Similar legislationwas enactedfollowing theconvictionof former women's national gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar, who molested hundreds of girls and women, including at Michigan State University. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya File)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya File

FBI agents who mishandled the investigation against former United States women's gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar won't be charged. 

The United States Justice Department announced on Thursday it won't pursue criminal charges against the agents who failed to quickly investigate after learning in 2015 that Nassar was accused of sexually assaulting female gymnasts. 

"This does not in any way reflect a view that the investigation of Nassar was handled as it should have been, nor in any way reflects approval or disregard of the conduct of the former agents," the department said.

Per CNN's Evan Perez, this marks the third time the Justice Department has declined to bring charges against Michael Langeman and W. Jay Abbott, the two FBI agents who were accused of mishandling the Nassar inquiry. 

In July, a report from a Justice Department inspector general found gross failures on the part of the FBI after receiving complaints from multiple gymnasts in 2015 about Nassar's abuse. 

According to Perez, the inspector general's report noted agents at the FBI Indianapolis field office failed to respond to the allegations "with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required, made numerous and fundamental errors when they did respond, and violated multiple FBI policies when undertaking their investigative activity."

U.S. gymnastics officials first notified the FBI about abuse allegations against Nassar in July 2015, but a formal investigation didn't begin until September 2016. 

Thirteen women who were victims of sexual assault by Nassar filed a lawsuit against the FBI last month seeking $10 million each, arguing the delay in the investigation allowed Nassar to commit further abuse. 

U.S. Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman testified before Congress in September to detail their experience with the FBI when they brought forth allegations of abuse against Nassar. 

Maroney said, "They allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year," while Biles told the court she felt the FBI had "turned a blind eye" when presented with allegations against Nassar.

The FBI fired Langeman following the release of the Justice Department's report on the investigation; Abbott retired in 2018. 

Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He is also serving a separate 60-year sentence on child pornography charges. 

At least 265 women have come forward to say Nassar abused them.