Enjoying a comfortable retirement and a lucrative pension, this is the disgraced FBI chief who is accused of chasing a $400,000 Olympic security job instead of pursuing pedophile doctor Larry Nassar.
William Jay Abbott, the former Special Agent in Charge of the bureau’s Indianapolis field office, was alerted to Nassar’s sickening abuse of young athletes in summer 2015.
But a recent report by the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed Abbott failed to take the complaint seriously or warn authorities at Michigan State University, allowing the former USA Gymnastics physician to continue molesting patients for a further 13 months.
It’s estimated the 57-year-old convicted sex offender was able to target a further 70 to 120 victims before a separate complaint was made to the university’s police department in August 2016.
Nassar faces a lifetime behind bars after federal and state courts sentenced him to a maximum of 235 years in prison for preying on hundreds of women and girls, including gymnastics superstar Simone Biles.
But there are no consequences thus far for Abbott, 60, who was lavished with praise when he retired in February 2018 and has never apologized, nor faced any criminal investigation, for his mishandling of the Nassar case.
Retired FBI agent William Jay Abbott is seen in exclusive DailyMail.com photos for the first time since a DOJ report found he grossly mishandled the Larry Nassar case
The 60-year-old had been the Special Agent in Charge of the bureau’s Indianapolis field office, when he was alerted to Nassar’s sickening abuse of young athletes in summer 2015
Exclusive DailyMail.com photos show Abbott enjoying his retirement at his $550,000, four-bedroom home in the upscale Indianapolis suburb of Carmel
Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in to sexual assault charges, is seen at his 2018 sentencing. A DOJ report last week found the FBI seriously mishandled the case and attempted to cover up the bungling missteps
The Department of Justice has declined to charge the 30-year FBI veteran despite last week’s publication of the scathing report which said Abbott repeatedly lied to cover up his errors.
It was also revealed for the first time that Abbott lobbied Steve Penny, then-chief executive of USA Gymnastics, for a lucrative job with the US Olympic Committee even as they discussed Nassar’s abuse.
The pair met at a bar to talk about the potential public fallout for USA Gymnastics and the possibility of ‘Abbott proposing to his colleagues an FBI public statement that would place USA Gymnastics in a good light’.
‘At the same time, Abbott was aware that Penny appeared willing to put in a good word on Abbott’s behalf’, the DOJ’s Inspector General reported, blasting the agent’s ‘extremely poor judgement’.
The report showed Abbott failed to take complaints against Nassar seriously or warn authorities at Michigan State University when he first received reports in 2015
DailyMail.com can reveal that the father-of-three, a fanatical cyclist, triathlete, and hot yoga devotee, wanted the committee’s prestigious chief security officer role which would have put him in charge of safety for Olympic training sites across the US.
The incumbent, Larry Buendorf – a legendary Secret Service agent best known for foiling the attempted assassination of US President Gerald Ford in 1975 by grabbing the attacker’s gun – was due to retire in February 2018.
Abbott saw the ‘nearly $400,000 per-year plus bonuses’ role as an opportunity to ‘double’ his FBI pension, which is already worth several hundred thousand dollars per year, according to attorney John Manly, who represents hundreds of Nassar’s victims.
‘It’s exactly what it looks like. Abbott sold his integrity for thirty pieces of silver and allowed at least 120 little girls to be raped by that b****rd,’ Manly told DailyMail.com.
‘He was allowed to retire like everyone else. He gets his pension every month. He had a very good career in the FBI. When you rise to the level of agent in charge, that’s a big deal.
‘He took that power and tried to use it for his own financial gain, in my opinion. That’s disgusting.
‘It’s like finding out you have a serial killer and you don’t do anything about it because you want a job.’
Abbott, 60, and his wife Jacqueline, 63, declined to comment on the scathing report when approached by DailyMail.com reporters
The couple have three adult children including a daughter who works as a nurse and a son who is in the US Marine Corps
Abbott, 60, is not expected to face any consequences and has never apologized for his mishandling of the Nassar case
When he retired from the bureau in January 2018, he was praised for his ‘dedicated service’ in a media statement that was later scrubbed from the FBI’s website
Abbott was knocked back by the Olympic Committee despite including a then-FBI Deputy Director and a US Attorney among his personal references.
But he soon turned his attention toward replacing Penny as head of USA gymnastics after the latter resigned in disgrace in March 2017, according to the Inspector General’s 109-page report.
Abbott emailed a friend asking if there was anyone he knew who could tip off USA gymnastics to his availability as he felt it would be ‘in poor taste’ to ask Penny in light of the unfolding Nassar scandal.
The shameless inquiry fizzled and Abbott retired from the FBI in January 2018, when he was praised for his ‘dedicated service’ in a media statement that was later scrubbed from the bureau’s website.
DailyMail.com approached Abbott at his home in Carmel, an upscale Indianapolis suburb, to speak about the report’s contents. He declined to speak with us.
In a scathing 119-page report, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz (above) said the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis ‘failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required’
His wife Jacqueline, 63, came to the door of the couple’s $550,000, four-bed home but closed it as soon as we identified ourselves as reporters, saying: ‘I’m sorry, no.’
The couple have three adult children including a daughter who works as a nurse and a son who is in the US Marine Corps.
Unusual for someone caught in the crosshairs of a public scandal, fitness fanatic Abbott has not taken down his social media which shows him enjoying cycling trips and family hikes.
Abbott began his vaunted FBI career in 1987 at the Washington field office working in counterintelligence and ‘international terrorism matters’.
He went on to join the bureau’s first cold case homicide division and served in a SWAT team based out of Washington, D.C. before becoming assistant legal attaché at the US Embassy in Paris, France in 2000.
Abbott worked in the public corruption squad in El Paso, Texas, then became acting head of the FBI’s Seattle office before eventually taking charge of the Indianapolis field office in 2014. f
His staff seemed similarly adept at high-profile investigations having led the child sex probe into former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, who was arrested at his Indianapolis home on July 7, 2015 and later jailed for 15 years.
DailyMail.com can reveal Abbott was vying for the USA Gymnastics prestigious chief security officer role and replace Larry Buendorf (left) after his retirement in February 2018. He later turned his attention toward replacing Steve Penny (right) as head of USA gymnastics after the latter resigned in disgrace in March 2017
By then USA Gymnastics, headquartered in Indianapolis, had opened its own internal inquiry into Nassar who passed off his sordid sexual assaults as legitimate medical treatments after becoming the organization’s national medical coordinator in 1996.
Penny took his findings to the FBI on July 28 but agents failed to formally document the meeting, making ‘numerous and fundamental errors’ as they pondered whether they should be investigating crimes that happened outside of their geographical jurisdiction, the report said.
Three gymnasts had bravely volunteered to tell their story but a supervisory special agent, who went unnamed in the report, spoke only to one, McKayla Maroney – by telephone – five weeks later.
The agent didn’t write up the interview until February 2017, when the abuse scandal hit the headlines.
His belated account, cobbled together from memory and ‘limited’ notes, contained ‘materially false statements’ and omitted key elements such as Nassar plying his victim with treats and snacks.
An Assistant US Attorney had advised the agents to transfer the case to the FBI’s office in Lansing, Michigan for further investigation but they inexplicably failed to do so, the report states.
In the meantime, Nassar was able to quietly retire from USA Gymnastics and continue to abuse patients at Michigan State University, where he was made an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in 1996.
Unusual for someone caught in the crosshairs of a public scandal, fitness fanatic Abbott has not taken down his social media which shows him enjoying cycling trips and family hikes
The father-of-three, a fanatical cyclist, triathlete, and hot yoga devotee, is pictured with his family in a Facebook photo
The FBI, USA Gymnastics and US Olympic Committee all failed to warn the university of the allegations.
Staff at Twistars, a gymnastics training club where Nassar had worked since 1988, and at Holt High School, where he was team doctor since 1996, were similarly left in the dark.
Abbott insisted in two separate interviews that he sent electronic notifications and communicated with Lansing colleagues about the Nassar accusations but the report concluded these were ‘materially false statements … to minimize errors’.
He also lied on two occasions when he denied asking Penny about the Olympic Committee job, according to investigators, whose report comes as Biles and her fellow Team USA gymnasts prepare to take part in the Tokyo Olympics.
Manly regards the FBI’s behavior as a coordinated criminal conspiracy rather than simple ineptitude.
‘The way that the Indianapolis officer presented this was that it was not malice, it was just bureaucratic fumbling,’ he told Dailymail.com
‘But at the very same time they were investigating Nassar, they were investigating Jared from Subway.
‘That office and those agents were all over him, they raided his office, they raided his home with frankly the same amount of information that they had on Nassar.
‘They knew how to work those cases. The fact the two were treated so differently tells you exactly what was going on here.’
Manly said that he was baffled as to why successive Justice Departments under Attorneys General William Barr and Merrick Garland would decline to prosecute Abbott and his unidentified subordinate in the face of so much evidence.
McKayla Maroney and Larry Nassar are seen at the Women’s Podium Training, 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, in Antwerp, Belgium.
Victims and others look on as Rachael Denhollander speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017
He said he was considering avenues for civil action against Abbott, whose comfortable retirement contrasts starkly with the ongoing trauma of victims, including a young girl who suffers crippling seizures because of her ordeal.
Timeline of FBI missteps in the case
July 28, 2015: FBI first learns of allegations against Nassar
September 2, 2015: FBI interviews one gymnast but does not document the meeting for another 17 months or share the allegations raised
September 4, 2015: Abbott emails Penny and tells him ‘pertinent interviews have been completed’
October 2, 2015: SAC Abbott meets Penny in a bar and asks about a job with US Olympic Committee
May 11, 2016: After 8 months of FBI inactivity, USA Gymnastics officials meet with the Los Angeles Field Office to provide the the same information they had given to Indianapolis. The LA office opens an investigation
August 2016: Michigan State’s campus police receive a sexual assault complaint against Nassar and open an investigation
November 2016: Nassar is arrested on state charges in Michigan
July 2017: Nassar pleads guilty to state charges
December 2017: Nassar pleads guilty to federal charges
January 2018: Abbott retired from the FBI
‘She was one of the last people abused before Nassar was arrested. I could give you 20 to 40 stories like that.
‘And all the while Mr Abbott and his cohorts and USA Gymnastics sat back and did nothing,’ Manly added.
‘The idea that he just gets to go and collect his pension after 120 girls were abused is manifestly unjust. If anything, the FBI should be held to a higher standard. It’s a crime, it’s a felony to lie to the FBI.
‘I think Mr Abbott violated our clients’ constitutional rights. There are a variety of serious consequences he could face civilly and we are going to look at it.
‘I’d like him to be in the same room as the children and their families and look them in the eye. I hope that opportunity comes. He should have to look at the human wreckage that he wrought.
‘The Justice Department can still charge these guys. So I hope they do. If whoever made that decision thinks that this is going to go away, God help them.’
After his indictment in November 2016, the FBI in Michigan and local authorities proved Nassar had sexually assaulted more than 100 women and possessed child porn, leading to multiple convictions in state and federal court.
More than 150 victims, including Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, and Jordyn Webster, testified at his sentencing hearing in a Michigan courtroom, confronting Nassar over his ‘heartless abuse’ in oftentimes tearful yet defiant testimony.
Efforts to sue USA Gymnastics were put on hold when the federation filed for bankruptcy in December 2018.
The Department of Justice did not respond to emails from DailyMail.com asking why Abbott had not been prosecuted.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Nassar episode is still being investigated by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
However the bureau refused to confirm or deny the investigation, instead issuing a statement to DailyMail.com insisting that all ‘necessary steps’ have been taken to ensure the Nassar failings do not happen again.
‘The actions and inactions of certain FBI employees described in the Report are inexcusable and a discredit to this organization,’ the statement said.
‘The FBI has taken affirmative steps to ensure and has confirmed that those responsible for the misconduct and breach of trust no longer work FBI matters.
‘Prior to today, the FBI initiated improvements to make sure that serious allegations, such as these, are promptly shared with our law enforcement partners and within the FBI.
‘As a continuation of these efforts, the FBI is fully committed to implementing all of the recommendations made by the Inspector General. ‘