Four American gymnasts, including Simone Biles, considered the best gymnast of all time, testified before the US Congress on Wednesday about the sexual abuse by the doctor of the national gymnastics team, Larry Nassar, making harsh accusations against the gymnastics organization. and the FBI.
In her emotional testimony, Biles said “enough is enough” and blamed not only the gymnastics organization but also the FBI for “turning a blind eye” to the crimes after hundreds of young athletes were abused.
“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame a whole system that enabled his abuses,” Biles said through tears in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
She said the U.S. National Gymnastics Organization and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee “knew I was abused by their official team doctor long before I found out they knew.”
McKayla Maroney, another gold medal-winning gymnast, told senators that one night when she was 15, she woke up when the doctor was lying on her naked body – one of many cases where she was abused. She said she thought she was going to die that evening.
Maroney said the FBI “ignored and ignored” her after she reported to Nassar and said the agency delayed the investigation after other girls were abused.
“If they were not protecting me, I want to know who they are trying to protect,” she said.
Maroney said she feels betrayed by FBI agents after they failed to investigate former gymnast Larry Nassar, despite she telling them he had sexually abused her.
She recalled how in 2015 she spent three hours on the phone telling the FBI details of her story that even her mother had not heard, including stories of sexual abuse she suffered during the London Olympics by Nassar, whom she described as “more pedophile” than doctor.
“I think for a long time, just because someone else did not give us the full right, we were questioning what happened to us. “And I think that makes the recovery process longer,” she added.
The hearing is part of a Congressional effort to hold the FBI accountable after numerous errors in the investigation of the case, including delays that allowed Nassar to abuse other young gymnasts.
An internal investigation by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, whose findings were made public in July, concluded that the FBI made substantial errors in the investigation and did not treat the case with “maximum seriousness” as the organization USA Gymnastics ”first reported the allegations to the FBI office in Indianapolis in 2015.
The FBI has admitted that her behavior was unforgivable as at least 40 girls and women said they were harassed while the FBI was aware of the problem.
Aly Raisman, another Olympic gold medalist, and gymnast Maggie Nicols also testified at the hearing. Raisman said he was “sorry” they were still looking for answers six years after the first allegations against Nassar were reported.
“We just can’t fix a problem we don’t understand, and we can’t understand the problem if and until we have all the facts,” Raisman said. “I remember sitting with the FBI agent and he was trying to convince me it wasn’t that bad,” she said. “It took me years of therapy to realize that my abuse was a bad thing.”
Mr. Horowitz also testified Wednesday along with FBI Director Chris Wray, who is expected to face sharp questions from members of both parties in Congress as to why agents who failed in their investigation were never prosecuted.
“The FBI not only failed to do its job, systematically and repeatedly, but also hid the truth when FBI agents made false statements,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, adding that the Department of Justice has refused to prosecute the agents.
Mr Wray told the commission that the actions of the agents who obstructed the investigation were unforgivable and “completely unacceptable.” “I’m deeply sorry,” Mr Wray said, adding that mistakes in the investigation should not have happened.
The FBI investigation into Nassar began in July 2015 after the President of the American Gymnastics Organization Stephen Penny reported the allegations to the FBI office in Indianapolis.
The office, then run by Special Agent W. Jay Abbott, did not formally open an investigation. The FBI interviewed only one witness months later, in September 2015, and failed to formally document that interview in an official report known as “302” until February 2017 – long after the FBI arrested Nassar on charges of possession of child sexual images in December 2016.
When the interview was documented in 2017 by an unidentified special surveillance agent, the report was filled with “materially false information and some information was left out,” the report said.
Abbott, who resigned from the FBI in 2018, also violated the FBI conflict of interest rule by discussing a possible job with the U.S. Olympic Committee while involved in the Nassar investigation.
As the FBI delayed its investigation, Nassari continued to abuse more victims. At one point in Wednesday’s hearing, Blumenthal asked all four gymnasts if they were aware of the abused victims after the FBI was informed in July 2015.
“Yes,” they said fourth.
Neither Abbott nor the other unidentified agent who damaged the investigation against Nassar was prosecuted for their actions.
“We have been wronged and we deserve a response,” Biles said Wednesday.
Raisman, meanwhile, voiced disappointment that no more has been done to investigate the American Gymnastics Organization or the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee for hiding Nasarr abuses for years.
Spokesmen for both organizations have not yet commented.
Nassar has been found guilty on three separate occasions, with one of the prison sentences going up to 175 years. Prosecutors have estimated that he sexually assaulted hundreds of women and girls./VOA
To be part of the group »AOL“just click: Join Group and your request will be approved immediately.