“What’s the point of reporting the abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?” she added.
Maroney, Biles, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman were attacked by Nassar, a former USA gymnastics team doctor who is now serving several decades in prison.
“It really seems like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of their way to help protect,” said Biles, the USA Gymnastics and United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, tearfully testifying.
“A message needs to be sent: If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and dire. Enough,” she said.
Raisman called for more investigation into how the Nassar investigation was handled unfairly and said the FBI pressured him to accept Nassar’s plea.
“The agent downplayed the importance of my abuse. It made me feel that my criminal case was not worth pursuing,” Raisman said.
The inspector general’s report said that while the federal investigation was slow, Nassar abused the victims.
The report states that FBI officers “failed to respond to Nassar’s allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and necessary, when they responded to them, and violated several FBI policies, they did many more.” made fundamental errors.”
Maroney described herself as a gymnast — but did not name — in a September 2015 report that spoke to the FBI about her allegations. The agent who interviewed him violated key FBI procedures and made false statements in a summary written by the agent. Interviewed more than a year later, according to the Inspector General’s report.
He and others criticized the Justice Department for its decisions not to prosecute the agent as well as an FBI supervisor, according to the IG report, which was blamed for mishandling the investigation and then later mistaking it. He was accused of making a statement.
“After telling the full story of my abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they documented the report 17 months later, they completely disregarded what I said. made false claims.” remembered.
At a later hearing, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the false information could jeopardize the criminal case brought against Nassar.
“The Justice Department declined to prosecute these individuals. Why?” Maroni called on Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco for his absence during the hearing on Wednesday. “It’s the Justice Department’s job to hold them accountable. I’m tired of waiting for people to do the right thing, because I’ve been abused enough and we deserve justice.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin noted at the start of the hearing how athletic institutions have failed to protect athletes from abuse.
“It blows conscience when those failures come from law enforcement itself,” Durbin said.
FBI Director Chris Ray testified that he felt “heartfelt and furious” after learning the extent of the agency’s failures.
Nevertheless, he portrayed the faulty investigation as the product of “individuals” who “betrayed the basic duty of protecting the people,” rather than as being reflective of the agency as a whole.
“I want to make it known to the public that the reprehensible conduct shown in this report is not representative of the work I see from my 37,000 people every day,” Ray said. Those actions are intended to “discredit” the work of FBI employees. Those who do things “the right way”.
Ray vowed to “make sure everyone in the FBI remembers what happened here.”
gymnast ready to speak
The gymnast, who testified on Wednesday, has previously spoken publicly about being a victim of Nassar’s abuse. Nassar, who also works for Michigan State University, touched athletes inappropriately under the guise of performing medical treatment on them.
In her testimony on Wednesday, she said the year-long delay of the Tokyo Games meant “another 365 days to remain daily in between reminders of this story.”
“I am a strong person and I will persevere, but I should never have been left alone to suffer the abuse of Larry Nassar,” Biles said. “And the only reason I did that was because of the failures that are at the heart of the abuse, which you have now been asked to investigate.”
She testified Wednesday that important questions remained unanswered about why the FBI failed to properly document the evidence, and about interest, as captured by the IG report, of the observer who worked for USA Gymnastics. .
“These questions remain unanswered, and Larry Nassar’s survivors have a right to know why their well-being was put at risk by these individuals who chose not to do their jobs,” Nichols said.
Maroney told the Senate committee the graphic details he shared with an FBI agent during his interview about the abuse he suffered.
“I told him that the first thing Larry Nassar said to me was to change into shorts without underwear, because that would make it easier for him to work on me, and within minutes, he had his fingers in my vagina,” Maroney said. . She recalled other specific aspects of Nassar’s abuse she shared with the FBI, including an instance where she gave him a sleeping pill and how he was “naked, completely alone with her over me, for hours.” He used to molest me till now.”
“I started crying over the memory on the phone, and there was just dead silence.” Maroni testified. “I was very surprised at the agent’s silence and disregard for my trauma. After that minute of silence, he asked, ‘Is that all?’ Those words in themselves were one of the worst moments of the whole process for me to minimize my abuse and be disregarded by the people who were supposed to protect me.”
Bipartisan anger on Capitol Hill
Ray and Horowitz’s appearance before the committee would only be the latest occasion when officers were subjected to intense questioning on Capitol Hill. During President Donald Trump’s administration, Ray — who was confirmed as director in 2017 — repeatedly faced hostility from Republicans because of the FBI’s investigation into the campaign’s Russia links.
More recently, Democrats questioned Ray over the FBI’s lack of preparation for the January 6 US Capitol attack.
Anger at Nassar has united lawmakers on both sides, as has bipartisan support in the investigation of the FBI’s failures.
Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley said the FBI, including this children’s unit, put the publicity and its image in front of the safety of the victims in this case.
“Every single person in authority who turned a blind eye to the allegations of these young athletes is involved in Nassar’s crimes, and every one of them should be considered a stalker,” said Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn.
“It’s not just that the FBI has failed to do its job systematically and repeatedly. It’s also the cover-up, which happened later,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat. “When FBI agents referred material, false statements, and misleading omissions to the Inspector General for Criminal Prosecution, those referrals were denied without explanation. Without any public explanation.”
This story has been updated with additional details.
Granthshala’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.
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