Simone Biles, Other Athletes Call For Full Probe Into FBI, USA Gymnastics Over Allowing Sex Abuse
15:34 GMT 15.09.2021 (Updated: 18:34 GMT 15.09.2021)
Larry Nassar, who had been a doctor for US Olympic gymnasts, was sentenced in 2017 to 60 years in prison for possessing child sex abuse material, and receiving the following year additional sentences of 175 years and up to 125 years for molesting female gymnasts that he had overseen.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles has blasted the FBI and USA Gymnastics for allowing the sexual abuse of athletes to happen, referring to the actions of Larry Nassar against her and hundreds others.
"We have been failed and we deserve answers," Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she testified alongside with Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols. "It really feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us."
In her emotional speech, Biles said that she doesn't "want another young gymnast, or Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse."
The gymnast insisted that, even though Nassar has been put behind bars, "those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable".
Aly Raisman, in her turn, also called for a complete and full investigation of USA Gymnastics over "doing nothing" to restrict the access of Nassar to the athletes while allegedly being aware of the sex abuse.
“It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter", she said during her testimony.
Maggie Nichols echoed the remarks made by her fellow athletes, stressing that "the survivors of Larry Nassar have a right to know why their well-being was placed in jeopardy by these individuals who chose not to do their jobs".
McKayla Maroney also insisted on the importance of the investigation, accusing the FBI of attempting to silence her and falsify her report on the sex abuse she allegedly faced.
"US Gymnastics Association, in concert with the US Olympics Committee and the FBI, were working together to conceal that Larry Nassar was a serial sexual predator", she said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray also testified, revealing that he was "heartsick and furious" after learning about the failures of the bureau to investigate the allegations properly.
"These individuals betrayed the core duty that they have of protecting people. They failed to protect young women and girls from abuse", Wray said.
Nassar, a former Olympic team doctor, was charged with possessing child sex abuse material and sentenced to 60 years in prison in 2017. The following year, the court also sentenced him to 175 years and up to 125 years for molesting young gymnasts that he was supposed to have been taking care of.
Initially, the investigation into him began in 2015, when USA Gymnastics President and CEO Stephen Penny reported the allegations to the FBI and referred them to three victims who were willing to be interviewed in regard to the matter.
However, the Indianapolis FBI office, at the time led by Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott, failed to open an investigation into the allegations, also never sharing them with state or local law enforcement agencies. Abbott was not prosecuted over the matter.