Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is seeking clarification of the Justice Department’s (DOJ) decision not to charge FBI agents who repeatedly lied about their failure to adequately respond sexual abuse of young athletes in light of new information recently provided to the Senate. In a letter today to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Grassley referenced a July briefing in which the DOJ Criminal Division detailed its decision not to prosecute two former FBI agents who made materially false statements about their conduct in the investigation of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Grassley is once again asking for more definitive answers as to why the DOJ decided against prosecution of those agents who were found repeatedly lying under oath, in violation of criminal law and fabricated evidence to cover up their failures.
“While I appreciated the opportunity to ask questions and learn more from members of your team, I am disappointed in the DOJ’s lack of transparency, even during a member briefing. Those present left with more questions than answers in regards to the conduct and actions taken by the two agents in the Nassar case, as well as what next steps will be taken by DOJ to ensure accountability,” Grassley wrote.
Grassley goes on to criticize the DOJ officials who refused to answer questions from senators during the briefing, and instead downplayed the importance of the case.
“When the Department officials were asked by my colleagues to provide the physical evidence they evaluated to determine not to prosecute the agents, they declined. The declination came despite the case being closed. This is unacceptable, and I am again left wondering what the DOJ is attempting to restrict access to if they felt the evidence (or lack thereof) was not sufficient for prosecution,” Grassley continued.
Grassley concludes by demanding answers to several questions, including how many cases one of the agents oversaw in a supervisory role and if those cases have been reopened with the new information. He also asks for a timeline of when investigators learned of the new information regarding an agent who worked the Nassar case.
The full letter can be found HERE.
Grassley recently expressed frustration on the department’s history of failing to hold its own employees accountable. Following revelations of Nassar’s abuse in 2017, then-chairman Grassley convened the first congressional hearing on protecting young athletes from sexual abuse, and co-authored legislationrequiring amateur athletic organizations to report instances of sexual abuse. In 2018, after hearing from several gymnasts, Grassley led a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray seeking an explanation for how the bureau handled the reported abuse and subsequent investigation. He also conducted oversight into the U.S. Olympic Committee’s response following the Nassar scandal, and crafted legislation to improve safeguards for young athletes and ensure proper use of funds designed to investigate allegations of abuse. Grassley’s efforts were included in a package that later became law.