The Washington Post reports that Michael Langeman, an FBI agent who failed to investigate U.S.A Gymnastics child abuser Larry Nassar, has finally been fired. The news comes barely hours before a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee in which several of Nasser's victims—gymnastics stars McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman—are scheduled to testify.
According to the Post, Langeman is among the unnamed FBI officials described in a scathing report this summer from the Justice Department's inspector general. The report found the agents investigating allegations of sexual abuse by Nassar had violated the FBI's policies by making false statements and failing to properly document complaints by the accusers, resulting in a delay in the probe into the claims. … An attorney for representing multiple Nassar victims, John Manly, told the Post that Langeman's firing was "long overdue" but said, "I can't help but wonder if this is because of the Senate hearing, and the timing seems cynical."
Nassar abused children and young women for 18 years in his position as team doctor of the U.S. national women's gymnastics team, and was jailed for life in 2017 after his conviction in trials for sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.
Though several other U.S.A. Gymnastics officials were ultimately charged with protecting Nasser and facilitating his crimes, the authorities' disinterest in him despite years (if not decades) of complaints remains a largely unexplained aspect of the case. Even with the "scathing" DOJ report, which concluded Langeman had lied to later investigators, it still isn't clear where the FBI's contempt for the victims ends and something even more malignant begins. From The New York Times:
The president of U.S.A. Gymnastics discussed the possibility of a top security job at the United States Olympic Committee with an F.B.I. agent investigating the national team doctor on allegations of sexual abuse.
Steve Penny, the federation president, who stepped down in March 2017, had also worried about the organization's image and sought to cultivate a close relationship with federal investigators, going so far as to ask for their recommendations on the wording of public statements about the investigation, according to emails reviewed by The New York Times. In one email to an F.B.I. employee, he wrote, "We need some cover."
UPDATE: Maroney's dropping the axe in Congress today.
"After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report, 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said," she said.
Maroney noted that after she read the inspector general's report, she "was shocked and deeply disappointed at this narrative they chose to fabricate. They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me, but countless others."
Maroney said that to have her "abuse be minimized and disregarded by the people who were supposed to protect me just to feel like my abuse was not enough."
She continued: "The truth is, my abuse was enough and they wanted to cover it up. USA Gymnastics in concert with the FBI and the Olympic Committee were working together to conceal that Larry Nassar was a predator."