Gymnasts Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney shocked Congress on Wednesday, revealing details of the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar and blistering the FBI, which they say failed to act on repeated reports that American gymnasts and may have even covered up evidence of an abusive system.
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing examining the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar case, in which the four Olympic gymnasts — Biles, Nichols, Raisman, and Maroney — testified about the abuse they suffered under the former Olympic gymnastics doctor’s care and how the FBI failed to act on their reports.
The hearing comes days after FBI agent Michael Langeman was fired for failing to pursue an investigation into the gymnasts’ claims.
In July, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General released a report criticizing Langeman — unnamed at the time — and his boss Jay Abbott for their handling of the Nassar case.
In 2015, Langeman interviewed Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney regarding her allegations that Nassar abused her. The report by the inspector general states that Langeman and Abbot never “officially opened an investigation” and lied to investigators about their actions. The report states that Abbott — who is retired — told the FBI to release false statements in 2017 saying that his office “expeditiously responded” to the allegations against Nassar.
On Wednesday, Raisman said that it took over fourteen months for FBI agents to contact her after her report to USAG [USA Gymnastics] in June 2015 that Nassar abused her, and that Nassar continued to sexually assault dozens of young women and girls during that time.
“From July 2015, when the allegations were first reported to the FBI, to September 2016, Nassar continued to treat gymnasts at Michigan State University, a high school in Michigan, and a gymnastics club in Michigan,” the report said. “Ultimately the investigations determined that Nassar had engaged in sexual assaults of over 100 victims and possessed thousands of images of child pornography, led to his convictions in federal and state court, and resulted in Nassar being sentenced to incarceration for over 100 years.”
Biles gave an especially emotional testimony, stating that “the lingering trauma from her abuse at the hands of Nassar played a factor in her decision to opt out of several competitions” during the Tokyo Olympics, according to the Associated Press.
“I sit before you today to raise my voice so that no little girl must endure what I, the athletes at this table, and the countless others who needlessly suffered under Nassar’s guise of medical treatment,” Biles said in her testimony. “Which we continue to endure today. We suffered and continue to suffer because no one at [the] FBI, USAG, or the USOPC [U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee] did what was necessary in order to protect us. We have been failed and we deserve answers. Nassar is where he belongs, but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable … In reviewing the OIG’s report, it truly feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to help protect USAG and USOPC.”
.@Simone_Biles: “We suffered and continue to suffer because no one at @FBI or U.S. AG or USOPC did what was necessary to protect us. We have been failed and we deserve answers. Nassar is where he belongs but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable.” pic.twitter.com/fnfWU8RhCw
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 15, 2021
Maroney testified that the FBI made false claims regarding her story of abuse at the hands of Nassar.
“As most of you are probably aware, I was molested by the U.S. gymnastics national team and Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar,” Maroney said in her testimony. “In actuality, he turned out to be more of a pedophile than he was a doctor … After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said. After reading the Office of Inspector General’s OIG report, I was shocked and deeply disappointed at this narrative they chose to fabricate. They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me, but countless others.”
.@McKaylaMaroney: “After telling my entire story of abuse to the @FBI in the summer of 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report, 17 months later, they made up entirely false claims about what I said.” pic.twitter.com/CC7Wpvg27U
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 15, 2021
FBI Director Christopher Wray apologized in his opening statements for the FBI’s failure to stop Nassar.
“I’m deeply and profoundly sorry to each and every one of you,” Wray said in his opening statement. “I’m sorry for what you and your families have been through. I’m sorry so many people let you down over and over again. And I’m especially sorry there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we’re doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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