FBI Director Christopher Wray said he is “deeply and profoundly sorry” to all of the women and girl athletes whose outcries about sexual abuse at the hands of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar were not investigated thoroughly by the agency.
“Sorry for what you and your families have been through. I’m sorry that so many different people let you down, over and over again,” Wray said during his opening remarks at a Senate hearing today.
“And 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 is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we’re doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again,” Wray said.
A Justice Department inspector general report this summer found that two FBI agents failed to conduct a thorough investigation into Nassar. The sexual abuse continued until state prosecutors and law enforcement got involved.
Wray said the FBI has already begun implementing all of the inspector general’s recommendations, including strengthening policies and procedures and training “to firmly underscore the critical importance of thoroughly and expeditiously responding to all allegations of sexual assault or abuse.”
“The American people are counting on us to get this done right every time,” Wray said. “It’s my commitment to you that I, and my entire senior leadership team, are going to make damn sure everybody at the FBI remembers what happened here in heartbreaking detail.”
One of the FBI agents, W. Jay Abbott, the highest-ranking official in the Indianapolis field office, retired before the inspector general’s review started. After the report concluded last month, another agent was fired.
“As for the former Indianapolis specialist in a charge, the descriptions of his behavior also reflect violations of the FBI, his longstanding code of conduct and the ethical obligations for all FBI employees, especially senior officials,” Wray said in regards to Abbott.
“I will say it is extremely frustrating that we are left with little disciplinary recourse when people retire before their cases can be adjudicated. But let me be clear, people who engage in that kind of gross misconduct have no place in the FBI,” he continued.