US Olympic gymnasts slam Nassar investigation, allege FBI 'turned a blind eye,' falsified report
Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing on ‘Examining the Inspector Gen’s Report on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar Investigation’
Olympic champions, heroes to young women and girls across the nation for their athletic achievements, on Wednesday served as champions for survivors of sexual abuse as they demanded accountability for those who enabled Larry Nassar, who abused them and dozens of others for years.
Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, alongside fellow gymnast Maggie Nichols, recounted their experiences before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in the wake of a Justice Department Inspector General’s report that revealed how the FBI failed to act on their complaints. As a result, they said, Nassar – who once served as a doctor for USA Gymnastics – was able to continue his pattern of abuse against young women and girls.
“I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during, and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse,” Biles said, fighting back tears as she delivered her opening statement.
“How much is a little girl worth?” Biles asked, referencing the title of a book written by fellow survivor Rachael Denhollander. She asked government officials to keep that question in mind as they take action.
“No one at FBI, USAG or the USOPC did what was necessary to protect us,” Biles said, referring to USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. “We have been failed and we deserve answers.”
“In reviewing the OIG’s report,” Biles continued, “it truly feels that the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to protect USAG and USOPC. A message needs to be sent: if you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough.”
Maroney recalled her experience with the FBI, speaking to them on the phone for three hours because she was too sick to meet in person. She told the committee about how she answered all of their questions and discussed every instance of abuse she endured, in detail.
“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,” Maroney said, stating that she “was shocked and deeply disappointed” by what she had read in the inspector general’s report.
“USA Gymnastics in concert with the FBI and the Olympic Committee were working together to conceal that Larry Nassar was a predator,” Maroney said.
“I am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing.”
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