Maloney Calls on Oversight Committee to Broaden Larry Nassar Investigation

Feb 14, 2018
Press Release
Investigation of Nassar is incomplete without also looking at FBI, NCAA, U.S. Department of Education Roles

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee formally requested that Chairman Gowdy expand the Larry Nassar investigation to include the FBI, U.S. Department of Education, and NCAA. The Congresswoman first requested that the committee launch an investigation into this scandal on January 25 and joined the Chairman, Ranking Member Cummings, and other committee members on fact-finding letters sent to the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, Twistars USA Gymnastics Club and Karolyi Ranch on February 8.

In the letter to Chairman Gowdy, the Congresswoman thanked him for answering her request to launch an investigation and stated, “Our Committee has taken the important step of launching an investigation, but it will be incomplete if we do not also review the response and involvement of the federal government and the institutions tasked with protecting student-athletes, namely the FBI, U.S. Department of Education, and NCAA. We are obligated to conduct oversight when matters of misconduct are brought to our attention.”

Full text of the letter below and a PDF can be found here.

Dear Chairman Gowdy:

Thank you for your willingness to begin a Committee investigation into the horrific scandal involving Larry Nassar, who has been convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of young female gymnasts entrusted to his medical care over decades. I believe this inquiry is needed to understand the systemic failures that led to persistent abuse by Nassar and ensure that similar situations never happen again. In the interest of conducting a thorough investigation, I respectfully request that you broaden the scope of the inquiry to include the FBI, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

It has been reported that the FBI was first contacted by Nassar’s victims as early as 2015, yet it would be another year before Nassar’s abuses were brought to light by the Indianapolis Star and the public became aware of his crimes. During that time it has also been reported that dozens of young women were molested.[1] I urge you to ask the FBI to provide information about how it was notified, what the agency was told, and the timeline of events that followed in response to the reports.

Likewise, the U.S. Department of Education deserves similar scrutiny. It has been reported that the Department of Education was aware of issues with Michigan State’s handling of sexual assault allegations dating back to 2010, when the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) informally counseled administrators on how to deal with media scrutiny after a female student alleged sexual assault by two MSU basketball players.[2] The Office of Civil Rights, within the Department of Education, launched an investigation into MSU after receiving complaints from multiple female students about the university’s handling of sexual assault allegations. Media reports indicate that despite federal investigators’ presence on campus in 2014, the Department of Education did not know that both the school and MSU police were in the process of conducting Title IX and criminal investigations, respectively, into Larry Nassar.[3] The Office of Civil Rights and MSU reached an agreement in 2015 which mandated continuing federal oversight, among other requirements. We need further information regarding this oversight, and how, despite many opportunities, OCR investigators failed to uncover the allegations against and investigations into Larry Nassar. 

Finally, I request that the Committee also submit a request for information to the NCAA. As the NCAA stated in its letter to Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis, “Article 2.2 of the NCAA constitution establishes the principle of protecting student-athlete well-being, including health and safety...”[4] Clearly this principle was not upheld by Nassar’s employers. It is important for us to understand any NCAA involvement in the investigation of these allegations, and the policies the organization is considering association-wide to ensure that the safety and well-being of student-athletes is better protected in the future. 

As I asserted in my original request for an investigation, Larry Nassar is one of the worst child molesters this country has ever seen. Our Committee has taken the important step of launching an investigation, but it will be incomplete if we do not also review the response and involvement of the federal government and the institutions tasked with protecting student-athletes, namely the FBI, U.S. Department of Education, and NCAA. We are obligated to conduct oversight when matters of misconduct are brought to our attention. I hope you will strongly consider my request to include the FBI, U.S. Department of Education, and NCAA in our inquiry.

Thank you for your attention to this request.

 

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[1] As F.B.I. Took a Year to Pursue the Nassar Case, Dozens Say They Were Molested, New York Times (February 3, 2018) (online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/sports/nassar-fbi.html).

[2] Michigan State sought to end federal oversight, delayed sending Nassar files, ESPN (January 25, 2018) (online at http://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/22211140/michigan-state-sought-end-federal-oversight-delayed-sending-feds-files-larry-nassar-espn)

[3] Michigan State sought to end federal oversight, delayed sending Nassar files, ESPN (January 25, 2018) (online at http://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/22211140/michigan-state-sought-end-federal-oversight-delayed-sending-feds-files-larry-nassar-espn)

[4] Michigan State releases NCAA letter on Nassar probe, says it ‘will cooperate’ Detroit Free Press (January 24, 2018) (online at https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/michigan-state/spartans/2018/01/24/michigan-state-ncaa-investigation-mark-hollis/1061778001/) .