FBI fires agent who failed to look into Nassar allegations

FBI fires agent who failed to look into Nassar allegations
© Greg Nash

The FBI has reportedly fired an agent who failed to look into allegations against USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar.

The Washington Post first reported on Tuesday that Michael Langeman, who was a supervisory special agent at the FBI’s Indianapolis office, was fired last week, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Langeman was reportedly the agent who interviewed gymnast McKayla Maroney in 2015 about her claims of sexual abuse against Nassar.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday that an FBI agent who worked on the Nassar case no longer works at the bureau.

“When I received the Inspector General’s report and saw that the supervisory special agent in Indianapolis had failed to carry out even the most basic parts of the job, I immediately made sure he was no longer performing the functions of an agent. And I can now tell you, that individual no longer works for the FBI—in any capacity,” Wray said in his opening statement.

The firing came after the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a highly anticipated report, which found that the officials at the FBI’s Indianapolis office did not quickly address the allegations against Nassar despite the possibility of the alleged abuse continuing.

The watchdog said the FBI and local authorities were delayed more than a year in beginning their probes into Nassar because of a series of failures that were detailed in the report.

The report criticized Langeman, without naming him, and his former boss, Jay Abbott, for their work on the case involving Nassar, the Post reported.

Langeman, in addition to failing to pursue the allegations against Nassar, also lied to inspector general investigators when probed about the failures of the office, the Post noted.

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Officials told the newspaper that Langeman was removed from his duties as an FBI agent when the report was released, a decision that typically precedes being fired. The Post noted, however, that firings at the FBI are rare, and that most officials opt to retire or resign before being terminated.

The news of Langeman’s firing came one day before the Senate panel held the oversight hearing on the FBI’s “dereliction of duty” following the release of the watchdog report.

Team USA gymnast Simone Biles and three of her former teammates — Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols — are testified before the panel.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz also appeared before the committee.

John Manly, an attorney who represents a number of Nassar’s alleged victims, said the agent’s firing was “long overdue,” and questioned if it occurred because of the upcoming Senate hearing.

“I can’t help but wonder if this is because of the Senate hearing, and the timing seems cynical,” Manly said, according to the Post.

He also said all individuals who were part of “what we believe is a conspiracy by the FBI, USA Gymnastics, and the Olympic committee to suppress the Nassar investigation should be criminally charged.”

“The fact that Mr. Langeman perjured himself and lied to investigators, both of which are crimes, sends a message to others at the FBI that you can get away with it,” he added.

The Hill reached out to Justice Department OIG and Manly for comment.

Updated 3:27 p.m.