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“We have been failed”: In emotional testimony, US Gymnasts condemn FBI officials

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In Wednesday testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four USA gymnasts called out FBI officials for their handling of the Larry Nassar investigation. The video above shows some of their testimony.

“This is the largest case of sexual abuse in the history of American sport, in although there has been a fully independent investigation of the FBI’s handling of the case, neither [USA Gymnastics] nor [the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee] have ever been made the subject of the same level of scrutiny,” four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles said. “It feels like questions of responsibility and organizational failures remain unanswered.”

The independent investigation Biles referenced aimed at holding the FBI accountable after multiple missteps in investigating the case. A Justice Department internal investigation released in July said the FBI made major mistakes in the probe and did not treat the gymnasts with the “utmost seriousness”.

Those errors included delays that allowed Nassar to abuse at least 40 more gymnasts after the FBI was first made aware of the allegations back in 2015. “Let’s be honest, by not taking immediate action from my report, they allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year,” fellow gold medalist McKayla Maroney said. “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?”

Maroney also testified FBI officials falsified her allegations, saying “that is illegal in itself”.

“We know that these FBI agents have committed an obvious crime,” Maroney said. “Yet no recourse has been taken against them. The Department of Justice refused to prosecute these individuals. Why?”

After the gymnasts finished their testimony, it was FBI Director Christopher Wray’s turn. He said he was “deeply and profoundly sorry” for what the gymnasts have been through.

“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. And that is inexcusable,” Wray said. “It never should have happened. And we’re doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”

 

Simone Biles, Olympic gymnast, Nassar victim: “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. To be clear. Sorry.”

“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse. 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.”

“This is the largest case of sexual abuse in the history of American sport, in although there has been a fully independent investigation of the FBI’s handling of the case. Neither USAG nor USOPC have ever been made the subject of the same level of scrutiny. These are the entities entrusted with the protection of our sport and our athletes. And yet it feels like questions of responsibility and organizational failures remain unanswered.”

“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, which we continue to endure today. We suffered and continue to suffer because no one at FBI, USAG or the USOPC did what was necessary to protect us. We have been failed and we deserve answers.”

McKayla Maroney, Olympic gymnast, Nassar victim: “Let’s be honest, by not taking immediate action from my report, they allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year. And this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue. 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?”

“They had legal, legitimate evidence of child abuse and did nothing. If they’re not going to protect me. I want to know who are they trying to protect? What’s even more upsetting to me is that we know we know that these FBI agents have committed an obvious crime. They falsified my statement and that is illegal in itself. Yet no recourse has been taken against them. The Department of Justice refused to prosecute these individuals. Why?”

“I am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing because my abuse was enough and we deserve justice. These individuals clearly violated policies and were negligent in executing their duties, and in doing so, more girls were abused by Larry Nassar for over a year. To not indict these agents is a disservice to me and my teammates. It is a disservice to the system which was built to protect all of us from abuse. It was a disservice to every victim who suffered needlessly at the hands of Larry Nassar after I spoke up.”

“Why are public servants whose job is to protect getting away with this? This is not justice. Enough is enough. Today I ask you all to hear my voice. I ask you, please do all that is in your power to ensure that these individuals are held responsible and accountable for ignoring my initial report, for lying about my initial report and for covering up for a child molester.”

In Wednesday testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four USA gymnasts called out FBI officials for their handling of the Larry Nassar investigation. The video above shows some of their testimony.

“This is the largest case of sexual abuse in the history of American sport, in although there has been a fully independent investigation of the FBI’s handling of the case, neither [USA Gymnastics] nor [the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee] have ever been made the subject of the same level of scrutiny,” four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles said. “It feels like questions of responsibility and organizational failures remain unanswered.”

The independent investigation Biles referenced aimed at holding the FBI accountable after multiple missteps in investigating the case. A Justice Department internal investigation released in July said the FBI made major mistakes in the probe and did not treat the gymnasts with the “utmost seriousness”.

Those errors included delays that allowed Nassar to abuse at least 40 more gymnasts after the FBI was first made aware of the allegations back in 2015. “Let’s be honest, by not taking immediate action from my report, they allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year,” fellow gold medalist McKayla Maroney said. “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?”

Maroney also testified FBI officials falsified her allegations, saying “that is illegal in itself”.

“We know that these FBI agents have committed an obvious crime,” Maroney said. “Yet no recourse has been taken against them. The Department of Justice refused to prosecute these individuals. Why?”

After the gymnasts finished their testimony, it was FBI Director Christopher Wray’s turn. He said he was “deeply and profoundly sorry” for what the gymnasts have been through.

“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. And that is inexcusable,” Wray said. “It never should have happened. And we’re doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”

 

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