FBI’s shameful role in Nassar case extends victims’ trauma – Boston Herald


If only Larry Nassar had rolled back a suspicious garage door in 2015.

The FBI may have taken seriously the child sexual assault allegations made against Nassar, the former US gymnastics team doctor, by those in his care.

Unfortunately, the FBI had other concerns at the time. He never bothered to seriously investigate the accusations made by Olympian and Needham native Aly Raisman, and her fellow gymnasts, caught up in the pedophile triad of Nassar, USA Gymnastics and United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

Olympians Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, McKayla Maroney and Raisman put their plight in the national spotlight by testifying Wednesday before a Senate committee investigating how the federal government messed up this situation.

They scored a perfect 10. Their profile was courageous.

“A survivor’s recovery is affected by how their abuse is handled, and it disgusts me that we are still fighting for the most basic answers and accountability over 6 years later,” said Raisman, 27. “I felt obligated by the FBI to consent to Nassar’s plea deal,” she said. “The agent diminished the importance of my abuse and made me feel that my criminal case was not worth pursuing.”

She said the FBI remained on her allegations for 14 months despite repeated requests for an interview.

The head of the FBI office in Indianapolis sought employment with the USOPC while assigned to the Nassar case. He retired in 2018. Another agent was fired this summer after a Justice Department investigation uncovered multiple flaws in the way the FBI messed up the investigation.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, as helpful and efficient as Jarrett Stidham, took the heat of the federal government’s failure at the hearing. But he was not in charge when the FBI actively pushed to reverse this case.

Who was in charge of the FBI when he interfered with Nassar? None other than Jim Comey. He was sacked by President Trump in 2017 during the investigation into collusion with Russia. Comey wrote a book in 2018 titled, laughingly, “A Higher Loyalty.” Comey was so good at his job he had no idea what was going on under his watch. Comey is silent here.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said it was the Bureau’s “worst”. He should know. McCabe was fired in 2018 after improperly leaking information to the Wall Street Journal and lying under oath about it three times.

Attorney General Merrick Garland was absent last week, as was Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. They have more urgent matters since the Bill of Rights remains in force in several states.

This is the same FBI that immediately sent over a dozen agents to the Talladega Superspeedway in 2020 after a crew member reported a looped rope in a garage used by driver Bubba Wallace, who is black. .

No racing team used the stand for months and it was randomly assigned to Wallace. A quick glance at the photo showing the infamous garage pull-up revealed it to be a case of “Fake Noose.” Still, agents descended on that NASCAR garage area as if it were a rally of unvaccinated Ron DeSantis supporters.

USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee share the guilt. Every organization has allowed this criminal activity. This could have been done for a myriad of reasons ranging from public image, to corporate sponsorship dollars to preserving high TV ratings during the Games.

Raisman said USA Gymnastics “quietly allowed Nassar to slip in through the side door,” which allowed him to continue his “job” at Michigan State University and elsewhere. “Nassar has found over 100 new victims to assault. It was like serving innocent children to a pedophile on a silver platter, ”she said.

His allegations of abuse have been laid to rest by both government organizations and the federal government, “who failed to fulfill their most basic duties,” Raisman added. “The FBI and others within the USAG and USOPC knew that Nassar had molested children and did nothing to restrict his access.”

Remember, these allegations were first brought to the attention of the FBI before the 2016 Olympics. Imagine the historic irony of Matt Lauer interviewing gymnasts five years ago about a scandal in the gym. sexual abuse before the Rio Games?

Raisman lives in the harbor district. It was simply South Boston for a few hundred years before realtors needed to justify its real estate values ​​and astronomical rents.

Falling victim to FBI criminal mischief was a rite of passage for many who lived in Southie at the turn of the 20th century.

Raisman sadly continues this tradition, as well as a life of emotional trauma at no additional cost.

The FBI – mainly through disgraced agent John Connolly – allowed Whitey Bulger to spark a decades-long pandemic of organized crime and murder in South Boston. When he wasn’t killing people or shaking them up, Whitey would flood the neighborhood with cocaine and marijuana (when it was illegal), through his own rackets or traffickers whom he “protected” for the fair price.

Bulger was killed in a West Virginia prison in 2018. Meanwhile, Connolly is a free man. He was medically released from a Florida judge in February to “end the rest of his life in the sun,” despite a 40-year second-degree murder conviction in 2008. Justice remains denied to many. their victims and their families.

Nassar will be in prison between 40 and 175 years. We hope. His pursuit was due to the work of the Michigan police.

This, unfortunately, does not mean justice for the more than 250 women and girls he has sexually assaulted.

Raisman relives her worst nightmares every time she calls for an account.

“Experiencing this type of abuse is not something you go through in the moment,” Raisman told Congress. “It continues with them sometimes for the rest of their lives. To be here today is to take everything I have. I don’t think you realize how much it affects us, how much PTSD, how much trauma affects us.

Justice for these women could include jail for everyone at the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the USPOC who allowed Nassar, or covered up his behavior. That could mean – someday – putting Raisman, Maroney or Biles in charge of the U.S. gymnastics program, if not the entire U.S. Olympic program, if only to make sure it never happens again. .

A total of $ 500 million from a settlement with Michigan State University has been set aside to pay the victims of Nassar.

It’s a good start.

But there is so much more to do.

Bill Speros (@realOBF) can be contacted at [email protected]

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