'We suffered and continue to suffer': Simone Biles, elite gymnasts blast FBI over failing to stop Larry Nassar abuse


Gymnastic superstar Simone Biles through tears blamed the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee at a Senate panel Wednesday for allowing disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar to abuse dozens of women and children. 

“USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge,” Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We suffered and continue to suffer, because no one at the FBI, USAG, or the USOPC did what was necessary to protect us,” Bile said. “We have been failed.” 

Fellow elite gymnastic athletes Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols are also testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the FBI’s failures to investigate 2015 sexual abuse allegations against Nassar. 

All four gymnasts said they were victims of Nassar’s abuse with Nichols being the first athlete to bring a sexual abuse complaint about Nassar to top officials at USA Gymnastics. 

During her testimony, Maroney slammed the FBI for falsifying her claims of abuse against Nassar. 

“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,” said Maroney. 

“What is the point of reporting abuse, if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in the drawer?” Maroney asked.

Raisman offered blunt words on the failures of the agencies when she spoke. 

“It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter,” Raisman said. 

Nichols, like her fellow gymnasts, stressed that the lawmakers should hold accountable everyone involved in the failures and cover up of Nassar’s abuse. 

“For many hundreds of survivors of Larry Nassar, this hearing is one of our last opportunities to get justice,” Nichols said. “We ask that you do what is in your power to ensure those that engaged in wrongdoing are held accountable under the law.”

The Department of Justice Inspector General released a stinging 119-page report in July that found Indianapolis FBI officials made false statements, failed to respond for months leading to more than 100 other gymnasts being sexually abused and exhibited “extremely poor judgment” in the handling of the allegations against Nassar. 

The report also said the FBI’s Indianapolis field office failed to respond “with the utmost seriousness and urgency that the allegations deserved and required.”

Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called the FBI’s handling of the case “a stain on the bureau,” while ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called for more accountability into the FBI’s actions. 

“If there’s one thing the Inspector General’s report illustrates it this: that we need to make sure the bureau is more effective and held more accountable,” Grassley said. 

FBI director Chris Wray apologized to the four athletes for the FBI’s failures and called the inactions of FBI employees “totally unacceptable.”

“I’m deeply and profoundly sorry to each and every one of you. I’m sorry for what you and your families have been through. I’m sorry, that so many different people, let you down over and over again,” Wray said. 

“And I’m especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015, and failed.” 

Following the report, an unnamed supervisory special agent involved in the case was reassigned pending the completion of an internal FBI investigation. The agent, identified as Michael Langeman, has since been dismissed, the Washington Post reported late Tuesday.

‘FBI failed survivors’:Massive systematic failures uncovered in DOJ’s Larry Nassar report

After initial allegations of abuse were brought to light by former USA Gymnastics President Stephen D. Penny Jr. in July 2015, the report found the FBI field office in Indianapolis “conducted limited follow-up.” 

USA gymnasts Simone Biles (left) and Aly Raisman finished first and second, respectively, in the all-around competition.

The field office also failed to alert the proper authorities, the DOJ says.

As the investigation languished, Nassar continued to work with gymnasts for more than a year. The report said that “according to civil court documents, 70 or more young athletes were allegedly sexually abused under the guise of medical treatment” during that time. An attorney for Nassar’s victims allege he abused at least 120 more women and children.  

Nassar’s sexual abuse were publicly exposed in September 2016 by an IndyStar investigation. He pleaded guilty to federal and state charges and was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. 

Another FBI failure:Larry Nassar debacle is latest in string of high-profile breakdowns

In August, USA Gymnastics reached an agreement on a proposed $425 million settlement with more than 500 women who said they were sexually abused by Nassar, their coach or someone else affiliated with the sport.

Contributing: Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star; Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY



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