WASHINGTON (AP) – Olympic champion Simone Biles told Congress Wednesday that “enough was enough” in emotional testimony along with other young gymnasts who were sexually abused by national team doctor Larry Nassar.
Biles blamed not only the gymnastics organization but also federal authorities that “turned a blind eye” to the crimes when hundreds of young athletes were abused.
“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that allowed and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said through tears in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He added that the Gymnastics Federation and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee “knew that the official doctor of his team abused me long before I made it known to him.”
McKayla Maroney, another gold medalist, told senators that one night when she was 15 years old, she found the doctor on top of her while she was naked, one of the many times she was abused. He added that that night he thought he was going to die.
Maroney said the FBI “downplayed and ignored her” after she denounced Nassar and said the agency delayed the investigation while abusing others. “If they are not going to protect me, I want to know who they are trying to protect,” he added.
He pointed out that “for a long time we all questioned ourselves just because someone else was not validating us, we doubted what happened to us. And I think that makes the healing process longer. “
The hearing is part of an effort by Congress to hold the FBI accountable, after multiple errors in the investigation of the case, including delays that allowed Nassar to abuse more young gymnasts. An internal Justice Department investigation released in July noted that the FBI made fundamental errors in the investigation and did not treat the case with “the utmost seriousness” after the Gymnastics Federation first reported the allegations to the FBI office. in Indianapolis in 2015. The FBI has acknowledged that their conduct was unforgivable, as at least 40 girls and women have said they were sexually abused with the bureau already aware of the problem.
Aly Raisman, another Olympic gold medalist, and gymnast Maggie Nicols also reported. Raisman said he is “disgusted” that they are still looking for answers six years after the original allegations were made against Nassar.
Nassar is serving decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography in Michigan. Over the past five years, hundreds of athletes have revealed that Nassar abused them when he sought to treat their injuries.
Olympic medalist Simone Biles testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on the sexual abuse committed by the national gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar, against her and other athletes, in Washington, on September 15, 2021. (Saul Loeb / Pool via AP)