The Department of Justice is launching a new inquiry into the FBI’s handling of allegations against disgraced gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, specifically reviewing the department’s decision not to charge agents who mishandled the investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco confirmed the new probe during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, when she was asked to respond to criticism the DOJ has received for declining to prosecute the agents.
“The recently confirmed assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division is currently reviewing this matter, including new information that has come to light,” Monaco said.
The announcement comes roughly a month after the judiciary panel heard testimony from star U.S. gymnasts about the way the FBI disregarded allegations of abuse, following a bombshell report from the DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
The report specifically refers to two people who the report singles out for lying to investigators from Horowitz’s office.
The report found that Michael Langeman, who was a supervisory special agent for the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office, made false statements during two OIG interviews regarding an interview with one of Nassar’s victim. Langeman had been fired a week before last month’s hearing.
Langeman’s former boss, W. Jay Abbott, separately lied about seeking a job with the U.S. Olympic Committee while the Nassar investigation was ongoing, according to Horowitz’s report.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) noted that some people are currently in jail for lying to the government.
“People are charged with the crime of lying to the government and are held accountable, and some are in prison for the very act that appears to have taken place here. And yet, the decision not to prosecute is one which most of us don’t even understand,” Durbin said.
Monaco told the panel that the gymnasts who testified “deserved better than they got from the FBI and from the Justice Department.”
“I want the committee — and frankly I want the survivors — to understand how exceptionally seriously we take this issue and believe that this deserves a thorough and full review,” she added.
The Hill has reached out to the FBI for comment.