September 16, 2021 – Four medal-winning American gymnasts shared their stories of sexual abuse by former U.S. gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar on Wednesday.
They expressed their frustration by recounting traumatic and graphic details during a Senate hearing about the FBI’s mismanagement of the investigation into Nassar’s shares, according to NBC News.
“I don’t want another young gymnast, or Olympic athlete, or any other individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and still today as a result of the Larry Nassar abuse, “Simone Biles, who won 25 medals at the world championships and seven Olympic medals for the US team, said in her opening statement.
She said organizations created to protect athletes, such as USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, “haven’t done their job.” She also said the FBI “turned a blind eye”.
“We have suffered and continue to suffer because no one in the FBI, USAG or USOPC did what was necessary to protect us,” she said. “We have failed and we deserve answers. “
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing came after a July Department of Justice Inspector General’s report detailed the FBI’s mismanagement of the Nassar case. The report found that gymnasts contacted the FBI about sexual assault in 2015, but it continued to treat gymnasts at Michigan State University, a high school, and a gymnastics club until September 2016.
In 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to abusing 10 of the more than 265 women and girls who came forward to say they had been assaulted, NBC News reported. He is now in prison and will serve up to 175 years.
Gymnasts McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols also spoke at Wednesday’s hearing. They called the institutions and people who should have protected them to account, according to NBC News.
Lawmakers asked gymnasts what kind of responsibility they would like to see. Raisman said an independent investigation should examine the links between the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
“No one should be banned. Nothing should be banned, ”she said. “Personally, I would like all three organizations to be fully investigated. “
Christopher Wray, who became director of the FBI in 2017, apologized for not investigating allegations the agency was making changes such as mandatory training. He also said the FBI agent accused of failing to investigate the allegations was fired.
“It’s inexcusable. It should never have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again, ”he said.
“I would like to make a promise to the women who appeared here today and to all abuse survivors. I’m not interested in just correcting the wrong and moving on, ”Wray continued. “It is my commitment to you that I and my entire management team are going to make sure everyone at the FBI remembers what happened here in heartbreaking detail.”