FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday apologized to the U.S. gymnasts who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar and said the agency’s failure to properly investigate allegations against him “was beyond the pale.”
“I am sorry that so many people let you down over and over again and I am especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable, it never should have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again,” Mr. Wray said.
His comments came after emotional testimony from elite gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the abuse they endured at the hands of the ex-Olympic doctor.
Wednesday’s hearing was scheduled after a Justice Department inspector general report in July showed the FBI did not adequately address allegations from at least 40 women who said they were molested by Nassar over a 14-month period.
After reading the report, Mr. Wray said, “I was heartsick. I was furious. I was outraged. I was bewildered.”
Investigators said FBI officials’ “appallingly inadequate” investigation, which began in 2016, did not formally document certain meetings, interviews and evidence linked to the allegations.
Their “numerous and fundamental errors” reportedly “contributed to a delay of over a year in the proper FBI field office and local authorities initiating investigations that ultimately determined that Nassar had engaged in widespread sexual assaults of over 100 victims.”
“I can’t tell you how much I wish I could go back and change the past, but I can’t,” he said. “What I can do is use the painful lessons from this case to make sure every single person in the FBI understands what I expect of them [and] what the American people expect of them so that this never happens again.”
Nassar has been sentenced to decades behind bars after being convicted in 2016 of sexual abuse and federal child pornography charges.
• Emily Zantow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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