(WASHINGTON) — Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a Senate hearing Tuesday that the Department of Justice is conducting a review into its decision to not bring charges against agents who failed to investigate allegations of sex abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Less than three weeks ago, gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman testified before the Senate over alleged FBI failures in handling the case against Nassar.
Monaco’s announcement followed widespread condemnation from lawmakers during a blockbuster hearing last month with the gymnasts, who detailed horrific experiences of sexual assault, and a damning inspector general report that highlighted the abuses and how agents initially on the case appear to have mishandled the athletes’ allegations.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were deeply critical of the Justice Department last month for declining their invitation to attend the hearing alongside FBI Director Christopher Wray and IG Michael Horowitz.
“I can inform the committee today that the recently confirmed assistant attorney general for the criminal division [Kenneth Polite] is currently reviewing this matter, including new information that has come to light,” Monaco said. “In light of that review, I think you’ll understand, Mr. Chairman, that I’m constrained in what more I can say about it, but I do want the committee, and frankly I want the survivors, to understand how exceptionally seriously we take this issue and believe that this deserves a thorough and full review.”
Monaco further assured Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., there was a “sense of urgency and gravity” with the recently launched review.
Earlier in her testimony, Monaco said she was “shocked” and “horrified” both about the findings included in the DOJ IG’s report as well as the experiences detailed by Biles, Maroney, Nichols and Raisman.
“I am deeply sorry that in this case the victims did not receive the response or the protection that they deserved,” Monaco said.
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