Biles slams FBI, US gymnastics officials for enabling sex abuse
Gymnastics great Simone Biles and other decorated gymnasts have testified at a Senate panel on the FBI’s mishandling of the Larry Nassar sex abuse case.
Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI, USA Gymnastics (USAG), and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) were all guilty of permitting the convicted former USA Gymnastics team doctor to continue sexually abusing dozens of women and children.
“It truly feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to help protect USAG and USOPC,” said Biles. “A message needs to be sent. If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough,” she added.
Maroney: Shocked and disappointed by the FBI
Olympian McKayla Maroney, the only victim initially interviewed by the FBI, said she felt betrayed by the agency. She said she told the FBI her story of abuse in 2015, but the FBI did not report her experience. She added that when they eventually documented her report 17 months later, the Bureau made false claims about what she said.
“They chose to fabricate, to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester. What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?”
The London Olympic Games gold medalist said, ”They allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year and this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue.”
Maroney has said Nassar first sexually abused her when she was thirteen, then continued doing so for seven years.
Raisman: FBI dismissed significance of abuse
Six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman said it took over 14 months for the FBI to contact her, despite her repeated requests to be interviewed by the agency. She said, ”An agent diminished the significance of my abuse and made me feel my criminal case wasn’t worth pursuing.”
Raisman said the FBI failed to stop the abuser’s unrestricted access to children. “It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a platter,” she said.
Nichols: FBI inaction let to more abuse of little girls
Former collegiate artistic gymnast Maggie Nichols said the FBI knew that the USAG and the USOPC had created a "false narrative" so that Nassar could retire with an unblemished reputation and return to Michigan State University. She said this resulted in the further molestation of dozens of little girls.
Nichols emphasized that lawmakers should make all those who were involved in the cover-up pay for what they have done.
“This hearing is one of our last opportunities to get justice. We ask that you do what is in your power to ensure those that engaged in wrongdoing are held accountable under the law,” she said.
Senate probe aims to prevent future mishaps
Committee Chair Dick Durbin said the Senate hearing is closely examining the FBI’s botched investigation so as to “prevent future, similar tragedies.”
The Senate probe into the FBI’s missteps enjoys bipartisan support, as the outrage over Nassar’s sex abuse crimes has brought together lawmakers of both parties.
Over 330 women and girls at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University accused Nassar of sexual abuse. He is currently serving a lifetime jail sentence.