By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
The FBI has fired an agent who is accused of failing to launch a proper investigation into former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The agent, Michael Langeman, lost his job last week, two people familiar with the matter told the Post. Langeman was a supervisory special agent in the FBI’s Indianapolis office and had interviewed star gymnast McKayla Maroney in 2015 about her allegations of sexual abuse against Nassar.
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.
The revelation comes the night before four US gymnastics stars — Maroney, Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman — will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing about the FBI’s handling of the investigation. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Chris Wray will also testify at the hearing, which is titled: “Dereliction of Duty: Examining the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar Investigation.”
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.”
Langeman declined to comment to the Post on Tuesday. The FBI and the inspector general’s office also declined to comment to the paper.
Horowitz’s probe was opened in 2018 to see whether the FBI and its field offices had dragged their feet to respond to allegations of sexual assault made by gymnasts and the USA Gymnastics organization in 2015 and 2016.
The bureau said in a statement following the release of the report that the “actions and inactions of certain FBI employees described in the report are inexcusable and a discredit to this organization,” adding that it has taken action to “ensure and has confirmed that those responsible for the misconduct and breach of trust no longer work FBI matters.”
In 2018, Nassar, who’s also a former Michigan State University doctor, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he had sexually abused them over the past two decades.
He had pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County, Michigan, and admitted to using his trusted medical position to assault and molest girls under the guise of medical treatment.
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