Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles, in tears, blamed the FBI, USA Gymnastics, and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee for allowing disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar to abuse dozens of women and children at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
“USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee were well aware that I had been abused by their official team doctor long before I was made aware of their knowledge, “Biles testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“We suffered and continue to suffer because no one at the FBI, USAG, or USOPC did what was necessary to protect us,” he said “Bile stated. “We’ve been let down.”
Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols are also testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the FBI’s failure to investigate Nassar’s sexual abuse allegations in 2015.
All four gymnasts claimed to have been victims of Nassar’s abuse, with Nichols being the first to file a sexual abuse complaint against Nassar with top USA Gymnastics officials.
During her testimony, Maroney accused the FBI of fabricating her allegations of abuse against Nassar. “”After telling the FBI my entire story of abuse in the summer of 2015, not only did they not report my abuse, but when they finally documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said,” Maroney said.
“What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to bury that report in the drawer?” Maroney inquired.
When she spoke, Raisman was blunt about the agencies’ failures.
“It was like serving innocent children on a silver platter to a pedophile,” Raisman said. Nichols, like her fellow gymnasts, emphasized that lawmakers should hold accountable everyone involved in Nassar’s failures and cover-up.
“For many hundreds of Larry Nassar survivors, this hearing is one of our last chances to get justice “According to Nichols. “We ask that you do everything in your power to hold those who have committed wrongdoing accountable under the law.”
In July, the Department of Justice Inspector General issued a stinging 119-page report alleging that Indianapolis FBI officials made false statements, failed to respond for months, resulting in the sexual abuse of more than 100 other gymnasts, and exhibited “extremely poor judgment” in the handling of allegations against Nassar.
The FBI’s Indianapolis field office was also accused of failing to respond “with the utmost seriousness and urgency that the allegations deserved and required,” according to the report.
Following the release of the report, an unnamed supervisory special agent involved in the case was reassigned pending the outcome of an internal FBI investigation. The agent, identified as Michael Langeman, has since been fired, according to a report in the Washington Post late Tuesday.
Following the initial allegations of abuse made public by former USA Gymnastics President Stephen D. Penny Jr. in July 2015, the FBI field office in Indianapolis “conducted limited follow-up,” according to the report. According to the DOJ, the field office also failed to notify the appropriate authorities.
Nassar continued to work with gymnasts for more than a year while the investigation was ongoing. According to the report, “70 or more young athletes were allegedly sexually abused under the guise of medical treatment” during that time period, “according to civil court documents.” According to an attorney for Nassar’s victims, he abused at least 120 more women and children.
An IndyStar investigation revealed Nassar’s sexual abuse in September 2016. He pleaded guilty to federal and state charges and received a prison sentence of more than 100 years. In August, USA Gymnastics reached an agreement on a proposed $425 million settlement with over 500 women who claimed Nassar, their coach, or someone else associated with the sport sexually abused them.
The Senate hearing, “Dereliction of Duty: Examining the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar Investigation,” includes testimony from Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Chris Wray.