US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco confirmed Tuesday that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Division is reviewing its decision not to prosecute FBI agents accused of mishandling the Nassar sexual abuse investigation. Monaco also shared that “new information has come to light,” but she could not divulge as the review is pending.
Monaco provided the update during a Committee on the Judiciary hearing on renewing and strengthening the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA promises that survivors who report abuse will be heard by “competent and companionate professionals who have the resources, training, and institutional support to do their jobs.”
During the committee hearing, Monaco recognized “the many courageous woman athletes who have spoken out and testified on behalf of the hundreds of survivors of Larry Nassar’s horrific sexual abuse.” She said the “system inexcusably failed them and the scores of other survivors.” As a result, the DOJ is working with the FBI to implement new policies for preventing future failures and to ensure that prosecutors understand their duty to coordinate with local law enforcement officers to address ongoing threats.
Of the gymnasts who reported the sexual abuse, Chair Dick Durbin said: “[T]he FBI failed them, our government failed them, we failed them.” He also noted that many people were shocked and dissatisfied with the DOJs decision not to prosecute “the FBI agents, who not only mishandled the Nassar investigation, but who clearly lied to the inspector general’s office.”
In 2018, the US House of Representatives approved legislation meant to protect young athletes from sexual abuse. Durbin has now sponsored the RISE from Trauma Act to “expand the trauma-informed workforce in schools, health care settings, social services, first responders, and the justice system, and increase resources for communities to address the impact of trauma.”