“My name is Simone Biles, and I am a survivor of sexual abuse. Before a committee of the United States Congress on Wednesday, gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman strongly denounced the inaction of the American federation in the face of the abuses of ex-doctor Larry Nassar on young athletes during two decades. They also demanded that all light be shed on the slowness of the FBI, which took nearly 18 months to arrest Nassar, who continued his abuses during this time.
“My name is Simone Biles (…) and I am also a survivor of sexual abuse”. The emotion of Biles in front of Congress, with her tears when she has to pronounce the name of the pedophile Larry Nassar. She accuses USA Gymnastics of having closed her eyes and protected Nassar. #SimoneBiles pic.twitter.com/YQ8lkOdbv6
– Philippe Berry (@ptiberry) September 15, 2021
Simon Biles couldn’t hold back tears when she had to say the pedophile’s name. And if he has been sentenced to several life sentences for sexual assault on more than 250 gymnasts, most of them minors, the Olympic champion of Rio insists: “I hold Larry Nassar responsible and I hold accountable an entire system that has allowed and perpetrated these abuses, the American Gymnastics Federation and the United States Olympic Committee ”. “What is the value of a little girl?” », She wondered during a poignant testimony.
A first closed investigation
An inspection report from the Department of Justice, an independent body, was very harsh on the local FBI office in Indianapolis, where the boss of the gymnastics federation first reported the charges against the osteopath in July 2015. The investigation was closed in September and it took another report, eight months later, for a new investigation to be successful.
McKayla Maroney, she focused her anger on the local FBI office which had collected his testimony containing very specific details of the assaults. “Not only did the FBI not do an investigation, but when (federal agents) finally made a report 17 months later, they made false statements about what I said,” the accused said. 25-year-old former gymnast, who was assaulted when she was 13.
Apologies from the FBI boss
Aly Raisman, who revealed to have been assaulted from 2010, denounced Larry Nassar in 2015 to the Federation. Yet “the FBI took 14 months to contact me despite my numerous requests to testify,” said the 27-year-old. Maggie Nichols, 24 and the first to report being sexually abused, said she was “haunted that even after reporting my assaults, so many women and girls suffered.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray apologized to the young women for the “failings” of the investigative office, without really explaining the reasons. But he promised that “all lessons” would be learned so that it “never happens again”.