Gymnasts Blast The FBI's Mishandling Of Their Allegations About Larry Nassar
Updated September 15, 2021 at 11:43 AM ET
The Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony about the FBI's mishandling of sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Here are highlights:
Update at 11:43 a.m. ET
Aly Raisman called for an investigation of USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic committee. She said the victims of Nassar's abuse have "been treated like adversaries."
Raisman said that "All we are asking for is when a child goes to gymnastics or goes to school or does anything that they can be spared abuse." She told the panel that "We've been victim shamed online over and over again."
She said that the FBI "made me feel my abuse didn't count." She recalled sitting with an FBI agent and him "trying to convince me that it wasn't that bad."
Raisman said that it took her "years of therapy to realize my abuse was bad, that it does matter."
Update at 11:14 a.m. ET
In vivid and emotional testimony McKayla Moroney said Nassar "turned out to be more of a pedophile than he was a doctor."
She recalled sitting on her bedroom floor in 2015 telling the FBI on the phone "all of my molestations in extreme detail." She said after describing instances of abuse including prior to her winning the team gold medal at the London Olympics, "I cried, and there was just silence." She said the FBI then falsified her statement, said the agents involved should be indicted and criticized Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco for not appearing at the hearing.
"I am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing," Moroney said.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles tearfully said she blames Nassar and also "an entire system that allowed his abuse," including USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
"The scars of this horrific abuse continue," Biles testified, and said "the impact of this man's abuse will never be over."
Update at 10:25 a.m. ET
In his opening statement, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin, D-Ill., called the FBI's handling of the case "a stain on the bureau."
"In the 15 month period that FBI officials shirked their responsibility, Nassar abused at least 70 young athletes. For many of them this was a continuation, but for others they were abused for the first time while the FBI sat on the case," Durbin said.
The original story follows below:
Four prominent female gymnasts will testify on Wednesday at a Senate hearing about the FBI's mishandling of sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
The gymnasts set to appear are Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman. They are four of hundreds of women and girls who said Larry Nassar sexually abused them while claiming he was treating them. Nassar is serving an effective life sentence in prison.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will also hear from FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who in a recent report found the bureau failed to adequately investigate the abuse charges against Nassar.
The July report by the inspectors general's office found that senior officials in the FBI Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to allegations of sexual abuse of athletes by Nassar "with the urgency that the allegations required." The IG said the Indianapolis field office also "made fundamental errors when it did respond to the allegations," by failing to notify the appropriate FBI field office in Lansing, Mich., where Nassar was employed by Michigan State University, or state or local authorities of the allegations, and "failed to take other steps to mitigate the ongoing threat posed by Nassar."
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said that the FBI's "failure in this case led to more athletes being victimized," and that the committee, with oversight responsibilities of the FBI, is conducting the hearing "to examine this injustice and to prevent future, similar tragedies."
In his prepared opening statement, the top Republican on the committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, said that children "suffered needlessly because multiple agents in multiple offices at the FBI neglected to share the Nassar allegations with their law enforcement counterparts at state and local agencies."
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the FBI has fired Michael Langeman, an agent at the Indianapolis field office who who interviewed Maroney in 2015.
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