Portman Statement on DOJ IG Report Detailing FBI’s Failure to Investigate USA Gymnastics Sexual Abuses & Ensuing Cover-up

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement regarding his concerns with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) investigation of Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics and FBI’s ensuing cover-up, following a review by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG). The report, issued this afternoon by the DOJ IG, details how the FBI agents failed to adequately investigate an early complaint of sexual abuse of children by Larry Nassar, “during [which] time, Nassar’s sexual assaults continued” and then attempted to cover-up the failure to investigate and lied to the IG and senior FBI officials about the investigation. Additionally, the report revealed that the Special Agent in Charge of the Indianapolis field office that received the complaint from the head of USA Gymnastics had applied for a job at USA Gymnastics while the FBI’s investigation was still pending, and discussed the potential for FBI to issue a favorable statement about USA Gymnastics. When the IG referred these matters to the DOJ for prosecution, the department declined to prosecute the FBI officials in question. 

“I am deeply concerned that the FBI may have been in a position to prevent some of the heinous acts of sexual abuse against these women and children and give them some measure of justice, but instead failed to act. Our own federal government allowed innocent women and children to be subjected to sexual abuse. I am also troubled by the Inspector General’s finding that FBI officials covered up their failure to investigate and later lied about it to the Inspector General. Most troubling, the Department of Justice has declined to prosecute these FBI officials who knowingly allowed sexual abuse of women and children to continue. The administration owes the American public an explanation for why they are not standing up for the victims of sexual abuse and holding these FBI officials accountable.” 

NOTE: As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, Senator Portman has a long record of fighting this terrible crime. Portman is the author of six federal anti-trafficking laws designed to better serve victims and help law enforcement end this horrific crime, including the high-profile Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) law that is already making a significant difference in combating online sex trafficking of women and children – resulting in the shutdown of numerous websites that knowingly facilitated sex trafficking. SESTA was the result of a two-year Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) inquiry, led by Senator Portman and former Senator Claire McCaskill, which culminated in a report entitled “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking,” which found that Backpage knowingly facilitated criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young girls and then covered up evidence of these crimes in order to increase its own profits.