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Gymnasts' $1 Billion lawsuit: Why did the FBI ignore sexual abuse of female athletes?

Gold-meal winner Simone Biles before Congress: Did FBI ignore complaints because athletes were women?

The most egregious sexual abuse case in college and athletic history was that of Dr. Larry Nassar, the physician for Michigan State University and for USA Gymnastics who destroyed the lives of hundreds of female athletes over more than two decades.

Now, 90 of those victims are seeking a billion dollars in damages from the FBI after an internal investigation by the inspector general at the Justice Department last year revealed the extent of the coverup.

One of those athletes, gold-medal winner Simone Biles, who tearfully explained Nasser’s depravity to Congress last year, lambasted the FBI after the release of the report last year,

"Did you guys really not like us that much that you couldn't just do your job?," USA Gymnast and Olympian Simone Biles said after learning about the FBI's role in the continued abuse. "We had one goal and we've done everything that they asked us for even when we didn’t want to and they couldn't do one damn job. You had one job. You literally had one job and you couldn't protect us."

Danielle Campoamor, “How many sexual assault reports did the FBI

ignore before Larry Nassar?” Refinery 29, July 21, 2021

Last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged the egregious inaction by the department, which was not under his direction at the time [James Comey],

“I’m 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’s inexcusable,” Wray told victims at a Senate hearing.

Ed White, “Simone Biles, others seek $1B-plus from FBI

over Nassar,” Associated Press, June 8, 2022

Inspector General Report

After the election of President Joe Biden, the Inspector Generals were more likely to release scathing reports, and they did last year about something that occurred in 2015,

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice's (DOJ) inspector general released a scathing 119-page report detailing the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) mishandling of the sex abuse case against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

In 2017, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on three counts of child pornography charges, and in 2018, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty for sexual assault. Since then, nearly 500 women and girls have come forward to say they were victimized by Nassar. But now, the DOJ says that if the FBI had done its job, many of those athletes may have been protected from Nassar.

USA Gymnastics first notified the FBI about the abuse allegations in July 2015, but the agency did not take any meaningful action until over a year later, in September 2016. In that timeframe, as many as 70 athletes have said they were abused by Nassar. "The FBI's failure in this case led to more athletes being victimized," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman. The report specifically highlights an apparent attempted cover-up and the repeated violations of FBI policies by at least two FBI agents.

Danielle Campoamor, “How many sexual assault reports did the

FBI ignore before Larry Nassar?” Refinery 29, July 21, 2021

Why does the FBI ignore sexual abuse allegations?

This is not the first time that the FBI or law enforcement as a whole has ignored allegations of sexual abuse. In fact, these agencies, which are dominated by men, routinely ignore the cries of women who are devastated by sexual assault.

For instance, look at how long it took for Bill Cosby to receive justice — and how he was released after being convicted by a jury.

This failure to investigate sexual abuse is appalling,

But this is far from the first time the FBI has outright ignored reports of sexual assault or harassment. In 2014, an analysis of federal data estimated that between 1995 and 2012, over 1 million rape cases never even made it to the FBI as a result of police departments across the country systematically undercounting or underreporting sexual assault allegations. Under the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) program, police departments do not have to count and submit reported rapes to the FBI if they "determine that complains of rape are unfounded or false."

And even when cases do hit an FBI agents' desk, they are often ignored in the same manner that the FBI ignored complaints against Nassar. For example, former Kansas City Police Department detective Roger Golubski has been accused of threatening, stalking, and raping mostly poor Black women, many of whom were later murdered. Yet former FBI agent Alan Jennerich says he "tried and failed to interest his superiors" in bringing Golubski and other Kansas City police officers to justice, telling The Kansas City Star, "The FBI's never going to do anything. It's not in their interest."

"I gave them everything they needed to put this man in jail, and ain't nothing going to happen," Niko Quinn, one of Golubski's alleged victims, told The Kansas City Star. "I gave up on everything. I gave up on justice. I'm done."

Danielle Campoamor, “How many sexual assault reports did the

FBI ignore before Larry Nassar?” Refinery 29, July 21, 2021

Nassar lawsuit too late

While Nassar received 300 years in prison in a 2018 sentence for what he has done, a lawsuit filed in 2016 was settled last year for $ 380 million.The total number of women abused by the physician is more than 500, but is probably much higher.

The lawsuit was the largest ever for sexual abuse, but it does not erase the sting that FBI agents refused to investigate the predator when they were alerted to his proclivities,

There's no dispute that FBI agents in 2015 knew that Nassar was accused of molesting gymnasts, but they failed to act, leaving him free to continue to target young women and girls for more than a year …

Los Angeles FBI agents in 2016 began a sexual tourism investigation against Nassar and interviewed several victims but also didn’t alert Michigan authorities, the inspector general said.

Nassar wasn’t arrested until fall 2016 during an investigation by Michigan State University police. He was a doctor at Michigan State.

Ed White, AP, June 8, 2022

FBI failed to investigate Kavanaugh

In 2018, the department conceded that it did not investigate allegations of sexual abuse against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of rape by a reputable academic scholar, something that happened while she was young,

A group of US Democratic senators on Thursday said that newly released materials show the FBI failed to fully investigate sexual misconduct allegations against the US supreme court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was nominated to the court in 2018.

The senators, including Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Chris Coons of Delaware, said a letter they received from the FBI director, Chris Wray, last month shows the FBI gathered more than 4,500 tips relating to Kavanaugh without any apparent further action by investigators.

“The admissions in your letter corroborate and explain numerous credible accounts by individuals and firms that they had contacted the FBI with information ‘highly relevant to … allegations’ of sexual misconduct by Justice Kavanaugh, only to be ignored.

“FBI failed to fully investigate Kavanaugh allegations,

say Democrats,” The Guardian, July 22, 2021

In conclusion, the taxpayers are going to pay dearly for the transgressions of a few agents and because of lack of seriousness toward sexual assault by many powerful politicians and government officials.

The losers, unfortunately, are the young women who were victimized by these predators.

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