Owner of seven Olympic medals, Simone Biles testified on Wednesday in a panel of the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate about the errors of the FBI, the American investigative agency, in investigating the sexual abuses committed by Larry Nassar. One of hundreds of women molested by the former doctor of the American Gymnastics Federation (USA Gymnastics), the 24-year-old gymnast blamed the FBI and the entities that manage her sport in the country for Nassar’s crimes.
– USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I knew of their knowledge. We suffered and continue to suffer because no one in the FBI, USAG or USOPC did what was necessary to protect us. They failed us. I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that allowed and perpetuated his abuse. The organizations created by Congress to oversee and protect me as an athlete… have failed to do their job,” said Simone, who cried during her testimony.
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Simone Biles testifies in the US Senate — Photo: Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images
The hearing came after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz in July issued a scathing 119-page report that the FBI in Indianapolis “has not responded to the allegations against Nassar with the utmost seriousness and urgency they deserved and demanded.”
The investigation began in 2015, and the various missteps included waiting five weeks to conduct a telephone interview with one of the victim athletes, according to the report, in addition to not interviewing other victims. The numerous errors, the report concluded, allowed the sexual abuse to continue for months.
Simone Biles testifies to the US Senate — Photo: Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images
In addition to Simone Biles, Olympic champions Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney and world champion Maggie Nichols, the first gymnast to take Nassar’s abuse to USA Gymnastics bosses, also witnessed. Maroney reported that the FBI falsified his complaint reported in 2015.
“After telling my entire abuse story to the FBI in 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they finally documented my report 17 months later, they made totally false claims about what I said,” Maroney testified.
“It was like serving innocent children to a pedophile on a silver platter,” Raisman said.
In February 2018, Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 360 years in prison for molesting 265 women. Victims are still seeking redress from USA Gymnastics and the American Olympic Committee.
– For many hundreds of Larry Nassar survivors, this hearing is one of our last opportunities to obtain justice. We ask that you do what is in your power to ensure that those involved in offenses are held accountable under the law – said Nichols.