US gymnasts, including some of the country’s most decorated athletes, testified before senators last Wednesday. They provided details of abuse suffered under former US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
The US gymnasts also scored officials for failing to protect them. This includes the FBI that didn’t act immediately to investigate Nassar. By ignoring him, The FBI allowed Nassar to victimize even more young athletes.
US Gymnasts Testified Before the Senate Against Nassar
Among the US Gymnasts who testified are some of the country’s brightest athletes. They include Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman. The Senate asked for their testimony as part of a hearing on the FBI’s mishandling of the Nassar investigation.
Wednesday’s hearing comes after the Justice Department’s inspector general published a report. He concluded that FBI employees botched Nassar’s 2015 and 2016 investigations. Nichols was the first victim of Nassar’s to report his abuse to USA Gymnastics.
FBI Ignored US Gymnasts’ Allegations of Abuse Against Nassar in 2015
Meanwhile, Maroney questioned the lack of officials who believed them. “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,” she bemoaned.
Maroney said she spoke to the FBI in 2015 to report Nassar’s abusive behavior. She provided “extreme detail” of what Nassar did during a three-hour phone interview. However, the FBI only started an investigation a year after Maroney reported the issue.
FBI Dragged its Feet During Investigation
Maroney said the FBI did not document her interview until after a year and five months. She also accused the FBI of making “entirely false claims” about what she said.
“They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me but countless others,” she said. In addition, the US Gymnast accused the bureau, USA Gymnastics, and the US Olympic Committee of working together to conceal allegations against Nassar.
However, the FBI only began investigating after the Indianapolis Star published a blockbuster report on Nassar’s abuses in 2016. Between 2015 and 2016, Nassar sexually abused at least 70 young athletes, including members of the US Gymnastics team.
The inspector general also found that the agent in charge of the Indianapolis office, W. Jay Abbott, inquired about a job opening at the US Olympic Committee while investigating Nassar.
The watchdog also said that the FBI did not notify state and local authorities of the allegations against Nassar. Later, authorities arrested the doctor in November 2016.
He faced numerous state and federal charges and eventually was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. His crimes included multiple counts of sexual abuse and child pornography.
US Gymnasts Recount Ordeal With Nassar
Several US gymnasts held back tears when they recounted Nassar’s sexual abuse. Simone Biles declared that she was “also a survivor of sexual assault.”
She added, “I believe without a doubt that the circumstances that led to my abuse and allowed it to continue are directly the result of the fact that the organizations created by Congress to oversee and protect me as an athlete, USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committees failed to do their jobs.”
Watch the NBC news reporting that US gymnasts testify in Senate hearing on FBI failures in Nassar investigation:
Who is ultimately responsible for allowing Nassar to prey on unsuspecting young athletes? Why did you think the FBI sat on the case for more than a year before investigating?
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