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FBI handling of Larry Nassar allegations reviewed by Justice Department

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating how the FBI handled sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The investigation comes amid allegations that the FBI had failed to promptly address complaints made in 2015 against the once-renowned gymnastics doctor. Nassar is now serving decades in prison after hundreds of girls and women said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment when he worked for Michigan State and Indiana-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

USA Gymnastics contacted the FBI about the allegations in July 2015, but it took months before the agency opened a formal investigation. At least 40 girls and women said they were molested over a 14-month period while the FBI was aware of other sexual abuse allegations involving Nassar.

Nassar was ultimately charged in 2016 with federal child porn offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan.

In the last month, investigators from the inspector general’s office have contacted some of the victims whose cases had been reported to the FBI, including former Olympian McKayla Maroney, according to the person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to discuss the situation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The FBI and federal prosecutors in Michigan, Los Angeles and Indianapolis have refused to meet with Maroney and her attorneys to explain why it took months for federal agents to open an investigation, her lawyer, John Manly, said.

He alleges the FBI “concealed” what they knew about Nassar by failing to notify local authorities in Michigan or contacting the medical board. Manly and several other victims Manly represents are “horrified” that dozens of other girls and women were abused after the FBI was told about the allegations, he said.

“They deserved better than what they got,” Manly said.

USA Gymnastics president Kerry Perry resigned earlier this week and was the latest person to face fallout in the wake of the Nassar allegations. Numerous other people have been criminally charged, fired or forced out of their jobs during the investigations into Nassar.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment and a spokesman for the Justice Department’s inspector general declined to comment on Wednesday.

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Michigan State cleared by NCAA in Nassar, basketball, football review

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Michigan State said it was cleared of potential violations from an NCAA review stemming from Larry Nassar‘s sexual abuse crimes and reported allegations of sexual assault and violence against women involving Michigan State football and basketball players.

“it does not appear there is a need for further inquiry,” Jonathan F. Duncan, Vice President of Enforcement for the NCAA, wrote in a letter to Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman, according to the university. “[The NCAA review] has not substantiated violations of NCAA legislation.”

Beekman said MSU welcomed the “closure” regarding the NCAA inquiry.

“In regards to the crimes committed on our campus by Larry Nassar, the NCAA findings do not change a thing,” he said in a statement. “NCAA member organizations have a specific set of rules to which we hold each other accountable. And while we agree with the NCAA that we did not commit a violation, that does not diminish our commitment to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student athletes. That pledge permeates everything we do as part of a larger university commitment to making MSU a safer campus.

“As it relates to the handling of student-athlete conduct issues, at Michigan State we are committed to following all appropriate policies and procedures. Today’s findings provide external validation of [football and basketball coaches] Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo and the way they administer their programs. Mark and Tom represent the athletic department and Michigan State University with integrity.”

In May, Michigan State announced a $500 million settlement with more than 300 women and girls who said they were assaulted by Nassar in the worst sex-abuse case in sports history.

The deal surpassed the more than $109 million that Penn State University paid to settle claims by at least 35 people that assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused boys.

Michigan State was accused of ignoring or dismissing complaints about Nassar, some as far back as the 1990s. The school, however, has insisted that no one covered up assaults.

Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting women and girls under the guise that it was treatment. He was also found to have child pornography and is serving prison sentences that will likely keep him locked up for life.

He treated campus athletes and scores of young gymnasts at his Michigan State office. He had an international reputation while working at the same time for USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

Prominent Michigan State officials, including its athletic director and president in a span of two days, resigned or retired amid the Nassar scandal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MORE: Ex-MSU coach charged with lying amid Nassar probe

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‘This is not Burger King:’ Larry Nassar’s request denied by Judge Aquilina

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Judge Rosemarie Aquilina denied disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar’s request for a new sentence in his sexual assault convictions.

“This is not Burger King,” Aquilina said Monday. “He will not have it his way.”

In denying Nassar’s request, she didn’t feel there was an error in the sentence she issued.

Before Monday’s hearing, Nassar’s attorneys asked the Court of Appeals to stop the proceeding and allow them to appeal rulings that kept Aquilina on the case. The Court of Appeals refused to intervene.

Aquilina sentenced Nassar in January to 40 to 175 years in prison on seven first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. The sentence came after seven days of victim-impact statements from 156 women and girls.

The former Michigan State University employee and USA Gymnastics team physician argued Aquilina erred in increasing his sentence.

The 55-year-old Nassar is currently serving a 60-year federal sentence on child pornography charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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