Biles: FBI turned ‘blind eye’ to reports of gymnasts’ abuse

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles told parliament on Wednesday that federal law enforcement and gymnastics officials sexually abused her and hundreds of other women by US gymnastic team doctor Larry Nassar. He said he turned “blind”.

“Sufficient,” Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee, as she and three other US gymnasts spoke in very emotional terms about the lasting sacrifices Nasar’s crimes had made to their lives. There is. ” In response, FBI Secretary Christopher A. Wray said he was “deeply and deeply sorry” for Nasar’s delay in prosecution and the pain it caused.

“I can’t imagine a place that’s not as comfortable as sitting in front of you right now,” said four-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion (widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time). .. She declared herself a survivor of sexual abuse.

“I blame Larry Nassar, allow him to abuse him, and blame the entire system he implemented,” Biles said in tears. In addition to the FBI’s failure, she said that the US Gymnastics and US Olympic and Paralympic Committees “knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I realized their knowledge.” Said.

Biles said he needed to send a message. “If a predator allows a child to do harm, the consequences can be swift and serious.

The hearing is part of Congress’s efforts to hold the FBI accountable after multiple failures in investigating the case, including delays that allowed Nasar, who is currently imprisoned, to abuse other young gymnasts. It is a department. At least 40 girls and women were said to have been molested after the FBI noticed the allegations against Nasar in 2015.

According to an internal investigation by the Justice Department released in July, the FBI made a fundamental error in the investigation after the U.S. gymnastics first reported the complaint to the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis in 2015. Was not treated as “greatest seriousness”. The FBI acknowledges that its actions are not allowed.

Ray blows up his own investigator who failed to respond properly to the complaint and promises the victim to “make sure everyone in the FBI remembers what happened here” and never happens again. I promised that.

The director FBI agent, who failed to properly investigate the Nasar case and later lied about it, was dismissed by the authorities, Ray said.

McKayla Maroney, a member of the US Olympic gymnastics team who won the gold medal in 2012, told Senator at the age of 15 the night she found a doctor on top when she was naked. She said she thought she would die that night. However, she recalled those memories on the phone with an FBI agent and said there was “complete silence” when she was crying.

Maloney said she and other gymnasts were “minimized and ignored” because the FBI delayed the investigation.

“I think we were wondering what happened to us because we all asked for a long time just because someone else hadn’t fully verified us,” Maloney said. Told. “And I think it takes a long time to heal.”

Biles and Maloney are joined by Ally Raysman, who won the gold medal in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic teams, and Maggie Nichols, a gymnast. Raiseman told Senator that he was “sick” of looking for an answer six years after his first allegations against Nasar were reported.

Raiseman pointed out the traumatic impact of abuse on all of them.

“Being here today is taking everything I have,” she said. “My main concern is hoping that there is enough energy to get out of here. I don’t think people understand how much it affects us.”

Biles admitted in January 2018 that she was one of the hundreds of athletes abused by Nassar. She was the only witness to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a year behind the coronavirus pandemic, and withdrew from the team’s finals to focus on mental health. ..

She returned to win the bronze medal at Beam, but told the Commission that the prolonged trauma from Nasser’s hand abuse contributed to her decision to opt out of several tournaments. At the hearing, she wanted her presence in Tokyo “to help maintain the connection” between the official failure and the Olympic Games, but “it’s a very difficult burden for me to carry. I found out. “

Democratic and Republican senators expressed disgust at the case and said they would continue their investigation. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin, the Democratic Party, said it was one of the most compelling and tragic testimonies I’ve ever heard.

“We have work to do and we know it,” Durbin said.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn said Congress “must demand true change and true accountability, and is not satisfied with the courtesy and vague promises of improving performance” from federal law enforcement agencies. “. Senator Jerry Moran of R-Kansas called Nasar a “monster,” and how many other abusers escaped justice, given that even world-class athletes were ignored in this case? I was wondering.

An internal investigation by Judiciary Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who testified with Ray, spurred claims that the FBI was unable to swiftly respond to complaints made against Nasser in 2015. USA Gymnastics conducted its own internal investigation, and Stephen Penny, then president of the organization, filed a complaint with the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis. However, it was only a few months ago that the agency began a formal investigation.

According to a Watchdog investigation, when the FBI’s Indianapolis field office scrutinized the handling of the issue, officials there were not responsible for the failure and provided incomplete and inaccurate information to internal FBI inquiries. Offering and pretending they were diligent. Research.

The report also details that while the FBI was investigating Nasar’s allegations, W. Jay Abbott, head of the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis, was talking to Penny about getting a job on the Olympic Commission. Did. He applied for the job, but couldn’t get it and later retired from the FBI, the report said.

Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography crime and sexual abuse in Michigan in 2017. He is currently numbered after saying that hundreds of girls and women sexually abused under the guise of treatment while working in U.S. gymnastics training Michigan State University and Indiana-based Olympic athletes. I have been in prison for ten years.

The abuse proceedings could soon end after US gymnastics and hundreds of Nasar victims filed a $ 425 million joint settlement with the US Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis last month.