Gymnastics USA stars Simon Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols were among victims of former Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar’s victims to testify before a Senate Judiciary Hearing. For those not in the know, NASSAR is a long serving Gymnastics USA doctor who is now a convicted sex offender. In 2018 he was sent to the pen for sexual assault on young gymnasts under the guuse of performing medical procedures over a period of more than 20 years. He pleaded guilty to seven counts and was sentenced to between 40 to 175 years in Michigan. Over 150 women and girls had come forward against him. The prime investigation arm of law enforcement in the US, the FBI are under attack for trying to bury the investigation. Today I take a look at what might have caused the investigator to do so and why it might continue to happen.
First what was the procedure that Nassar performed on the women? It is called the pelvic massage. Larry would insert his fingers into the girl’s vagina to touch the soft tissue therein to relax the pelvic muscle area. It is common to suffer pain in the pelvic area for female gymnasts and athletes. The procedure in itself is a legal. That may have played in the mind of the FBI agent investigating the case. However, it is rarely applied, and is used in very extreme cases. The fact that Larry enjoyed it so much that he did it to hundreds of girls without consent from the parents should have raised an immediate red flag.
For most cops, the stereotypical sexual assault is violent, messy and visually traumatic. That comes with their training. A change in their training is really needed here. The agent must have thought the girls were exaggerating. It is interesting that at one point one of Larry’s victims actually told her mom that he had”touched”her whilst she was sitting next to the examination room, and the mom did not believe her. This is not uncommon at all. It goes back to Truth default as well as the fact that as parents we tend to think our kids have a hyper active imagination. I believe that was the same line of thinking by the FBI agent. Lastly , the case hinged upon the evidence of the victims who in most cases were alone with Nassar. Maybe for lack of evidence the agent may have set it aside but he could have at least have sought the attorney general’s input into the case before deciding to play judge on such a sensitive case. The agent refered to here was subsequently sacked by the FBI and his supervisor retired from the bureau. Clearly a change in the way the FBI handles special victims is needed here.