Wicker demands details of Nassar abuse probe after gymnasts sue FBI
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday demanding details on why the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to prosecute FBI special agents involved in the Larry Nassar investigation and how many victims could have been protected if the agency acted sooner.
Wicker’s letter was released the same day that Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and dozens of other gymnasts abused by Nassar filed a lawsuit seeking more than $1 billion from the FBI for failing to stop the sports doctor.
Wicker told Garland that the department’s decision to not bring charges against the FBI agents was “egregious,” adding that the DOJ should explain its reasoning on the matter.
“This decision is egregious and severely calls into question the Department’s judgment. I am particularly concerned this lack of accountability will further erode confidence in law enforcement among victims of sexual abuse, making it less likely abuse will be reported in the future,” Wicker wrote in his letter.
The department announced last month that criminal charges would not be brought against two former FBI agents accused of mishandling the sexual abuse case involving the former USA Gymnastics doctor.
Wicker also requested that the DOJ send a briefing to the Senate Commerce Committee, of which Wicker is the ranking member, confirming its decisions not to bring charges in the case along with new information from its review of the case.
Wicker asked the department to share the exact number of victims of Nassar in the FBI’s initial investigation of the case and answer how the bureau’s investigation “would not have eliminated, or at least decreased the statistics.”
“Nassar was eventually convicted for his crimes in spite of the FBI’s failures,” Wicker wrote. “Yet the system that allowed him to perpetuate his abuses remains largely unchanged, and the Special Agents who lied to cover up their inactions have not received any judicial scrutiny.”
A total of 90 women joined the lawsuit filed Wednesday against the FBI.
“It is time for the FBI to be held accountable,” said Maggie Nichols, a national champion gymnast at Oklahoma from 2017 to 2019.
Under federal law, a government agency has six months to respond to the tort claims filed Wednesday. Lawsuits could follow, depending on the FBI’s response.
The DOJ has until June 22 to respond to all of Wicker’s questions on the matter.