The New York Times published a report this weekend that lays out a timeline of the FBI’s investigation into Larry Nassar, who has been sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to the Times, Nassar was able to continue working and abusing dozens of women while the FBI’s investigation plodded along.
The Times reports that Nassar first fell under FBI scrutiny in July 2015, when abuse allegations from three separate gymnasts were reported to the agency. According to the Times, it took the FBI a full year to get around to interviewing two of those victims. Meanwhile, Nassar continued abusing gymnasts and athletes until his crimes were revealed by the Indianapolis Star in September 2016.
The Times also spoke to retired FBI agent W. Jay Abbott, who was in charge of the Indianapolis bureau at the time when the FBI became aware of the allegations against Nassar. He recalled his agents being shown instructional videos that Nassar had filmed, in which the doctor could be see working the private areas of gymnasts with an ungloved hand. He also tried to explain why the investigation took so long:
Asked why federal law enforcement officials did not notify people — other gymnasts, parents, coaches — that a potential child molester was in their midst, Mr. Abbott said, “That’s where things can get tricky.”
“There is a duty to warn those who might be harmed in the future,” he said. “But everyone is still trying to ascertain whether a crime has been committed. And everybody has rights here” — a reference to both the alleged victims and the person being accused.
The Nassar case might have been further complicated, he said, by the fact that “there was a vigorous debate going on about whether this was a legitimate medical procedure.”
You can read the Times’ full report here.