American gymnast Simone Biles testified before the United States Senate about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her former team doctor, Larry Nassar.
Her teammates also appeared Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney and the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray.
The testimony of Biles and the other athletes has been shocking.
The Senate committee that heard them investigates possible flaws and negligence in the FBI investigation of Nassar, later sentenced to life in prison for sexual abuse.
“I blame Larry Nassar, and I also blame the entire system that allowed him to perpetrate his abuses,” Biles said, the most awarded gymnast in the history of the Olympic Games.
“If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be prompt and severe,” he added.
Gymnast Maggie Nichols, the first victim to report the abuses to USA Gymnastics, the American gymnastics federation, also appeared before lawmakers.
Biles and Nichols are among the more than 200 women who in 2018 reported Nassar’s abuse in court when he was the doctor for the US women’s gymnastics team.
What the FBI Investigation Report Said
A report on the FBI investigation released in July after a long wait revealed mysterious errors and omissions by agents, allowing Nassar to continue his abuses months after the case was opened.
The 119-page report, prepared by the Justice Department inspector general, found that despite the seriousness of the allegations against Nassar, the FBI’s Indianapolis office responded slowly.
The report claimed that two FBI agents questioned they lied to cover up their mistakes. One of them was fired last week, according to US media.
Raisman on Wednesday criticized the FBI investigation, which he described as “conjectures”while Maroney, the only victim initially interviewed by officers, described her experience as deeply disappointing.
“They chose to make up, lie about what I said to protect a serial child molester,” Maroney said. “What’s the point of reporting the abuse if our own FBI agents are going to keep it to themselves and bury the report in a drawer?”
Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that the hearing would examine the factors that led to the failure of the FBI investigation “to prevent similar tragedies in the future.”
Wray, the FBI director, is expected to face tough questions from senators about why officers found to have broken the rules were never prosecuted.
Nassar was accused of abuse by more than 330 women at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
Biles is the best known among those who denounced her abuses.
After breaking her silence, Biles said she felt “relieved” after feeling “a lot of pressure” for keeping the truth a secret for so long.
McKayla Maroney, a gold medal winner at the London 2012 games, has stated that Nassar sexually abused her for 7 years from the age of 13.
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