Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles told Congress on Wednesday that “enough is” in emotional testimony along with other young gymnasts about her sexual abuse from US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Biles blamed not only the gymnastics organization but also the federal law enforcement who “closed their eyes” to the crimes when hundreds of young athletes were beaten.
“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said tearfully in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She said that the United States Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee “knew that I was beaten by their official team doctor long before I ever became aware of their knowledge.”
McKayla Maroney, another gold medal-winning gymnast, 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 many times she was beaten. She said she thought she would die that night.
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Maroney said the FBI “minimized and ignored” her after she reported Nassar, saying the agency delayed the investigation because others were abused. “If they are not going to protect me, I want to know who they are trying to protect,” she said.
She added: “I think we all questioned for so long, just because someone else did not fully validate us, that we doubted what was happening to us. And I think that makes the healing process take longer. ”
The hearing is part of a congressional effort to hold the FBI accountable after several mistakes in the investigation of the case, including the delays that enabled Nassar to abuse additional young gymnasts. An internal investigation by the Justice Department released in July said the FBI made fundamental errors in the probe and did not treat the case “most seriously” after USA Gymnastics first reported the allegations to the FBI’s Indianapolis field office in 2015. The FBI has admitted its own conduct was unforgivable because at least 40 girls and women said they were abused while the FBI was aware of the problem.
Biles and Maroney were joined by Aly Raisman, another Olympic gold medalist, and gymnast Maggie Nicols. Raisman said it was “disgusting” that they were still looking for answers six years after the original allegations against Nassar were reported.
“We just can not solve a problem that we do not understand, and we can not understand the problem if not and until we have all the facts,” Raisman said.
© 2021 The Canadian Press