United States gymnasts spoke again Wednesday about their experience with team doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse, including seven-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles saying that federal law enforcement and USA Gymnastics officials turned a blind eye to the abuse.
“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said, adding that 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.”
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According to The Associated Press, Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, each saying that they knew people who were molested by Nassar after 2015, when the FBI became aware of allegations.
“I think for so long all of us questioned, just because someone else wasn’t fully validating us, that we doubted what happened to us,” Maroney said. “And I think that makes the healing process take longer.”
FBI director Christopher Wray said Wednesday he is “deeply and profoundly sorry” for the pain caused by delays in Nassar’s prosecution. Wray said a supervisory FBI agent has been fired after failing to properly investigate the Nassar case, and lying about it.
“If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough,” Biles said of the message that needs to be sent.
Hundreds of girls and women say the 58-year-old Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment while working at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. He is currently serving a 60-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2017 to federal child pornography offenses and sexual abuse charges.
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A Justice Department internal investigation released in July said the FBI made fundamental errors in the probe and didn’t treat the case with “utmost seriousness.” Senators reportedly expressed disgust over the case Wednesday and said they would continue to investigate.
“Being here today is taking everything I have,” Raisman said, calling for more investigations of USA Gymnastics, Olympic officials and the RBI. “My main concern is I hope I have the energy to just walk out of here. I don’t think people realize how much it affects us.”
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