For more than a year, an FBI inquiry into allegations that sports doctor Larry Nassar had molested three elite teenage gymnasts moved at a plodding pace as it went back and forth among agents in three cities, the New York Times reports. The information included instructional videos of the doctor’s unusual treatment methods, showing his ungloved hands working about the private areas of girls lying facedown on tables. The Times identified at least 27 girls and women who say that Nassar molested them between July 2015, when he first fell under FBI scrutiny, and September 2016, when he was exposed by an Indianapolis Star investigation. Some are among the youngest of the now-convicted predator’s 265 accusers.
The three alleged victims then at the center of the FBI inquiry were world-class athletes; two were Olympic gold medalists. Nearly a year passed before agents interviewed two of the young women. Gina Nichols, the mother of gymnast Maggie Nichols, was not contacted by the FBI for nearly 11 months after the information she provided sparked the federal inquiry. The FBI declined to answer detailed questions about the investigation, saying that the many allegations against Nassar “transcended jurisdictions.” The agency left unaddressed the oft-repeated claim by U.S.A. Gymnastics officials that after initially presenting the sexual assault allegations to the FBI in July 2015, they came away with the impression that federal agents had advised them not to discuss the case with anyone. The ensuing silence had dire consequences, as the many girls and young women still seeing Nassar received no warning.