Olympic Gymnasts Slam FBI For Botched Investigation Into Larry Nassar

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Lawmakers in a Senate hearing said the failure to properly examine a USA Gymnastics doctor allowed them to sexually abuse 70 more athletes.

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including gymnasts Aly Raisman, MacKayla Maroney and Simone Biles gave heart-wrenching testimony during Wednesday’s Senate hearing, which reviewed it FBIFailed 2015 investigation into child sex abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassari.

“These individuals clearly violated policies and were negligent in performing their duties, and in doing so, girls were abused by Larry Nassar for over a year,” Maroney told the Senate Judiciary Committee. said.

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“It is a disservice to me and my comrades not to accuse these agents; It is an insult to the system that was designed to protect all of us from abuse; It was an absurdity for every victim needlessly at the hands of Larry Nassar after I spoke,” said Maroney, who was the first gymnast to speak with the FBI. “Why are public servants, whose job it is to protect, getting away with this? ?”

Nassar, who is effectively serve life in prison In 2015 the sexual abuse of hundreds of child athletes by multiple gymnasts was reported to the FBI. However, two Indianapolis-based FBI agents took no action until more than a year later. Justice Department report good This, published in July, revealed that the FBI office in Indianapolis had made “fundamental errors” when investigating Nassar, including concealing and fabricating information in its report to FBI Headquarters about his interviews with Nassar’s victims.

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Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the fabricated statements made by the two FBI agents “could have actually jeopardized the criminal investigation by including misinformation that could have bolstered Nassar’s defense.”

After Nassar abused at least 70 young athletes over 15 months, the FBI should have investigated the complaints, senators said during a hearing Wednesday.

One of the senior field agents, Special Agent Jay Abbott, went so far as to look for a job at USA Gymnastics while investigating Nassar. One of the agents was fired for his misconduct; Abbott, the more senior of the two, was allowed to retire in 2018.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified Wednesday that Abbott was able to retire “to my desperation” before the agent’s misconduct was exposed.

Maroney, Raisman, Biles and fellow gymnast Maggie Nichols, who testified Wednesday morning, were successively sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment. During the testimony, he called out several institutions affiliated with Nassar — ​​including USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and Michigan State University — for failing to protect him and other young athletes.

“I ask that your work be guided by the question of Rachael Denhollander” And many others have asked: ‘How much is a little girl worth?'” Biles said, Referring to the first woman to report to NassaroBefore breaking down in tears.

Biles said, “I sit in front of you today to raise my voice so that no little girl will have to endure me, the athletes at this table, and the countless others who suffered needlessly under the guise of medical treatment under the guise of Nassar, Which we are still facing today.” “We have failed and we deserve answers. Nassar is where he is, but those who enabled him must be held accountable.”

Why are public servants, whose job it is to protect, getting away from it?
MacKayla Maroney, Olympic gymnast

The FBI joins a long list of organizations that have prioritized gold medals and money above the safety of children, Raisman said.

“Just as it is naive to assume that the problem is only with Nassar, it is unrealistic to think that without understanding how and why the USAG and USOPC chose to ignore abuse for decades, we can fully blame, ” He said. “And why the interplay between these three organizations prompted the FBI to disregard our reports of abuse.”

Raisman calls for truth and transparency in the Nassar investigation, a demand that the survivors are making for the last five years.

“We just can’t fix a problem we don’t understand,” she said. “And we can’t understand the problem until we have all the facts.”

An emotional Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a leader in the Congressional investigation into Nassar, said that “the FBI’s failure to act had real, human consequences,” adding that it was “the last of the authority.” There was abuse.”

Ray, who took over his role as FBI director in 2017 following the Nassar investigation, addressed the senators and the survivors in the room in what appeared to be a genuine statement.

“I want to be clear: The actions and inactions of FBI employees detailed in this report are completely unacceptable,” he said. “These individuals betrayed the basic duty of protecting the people. They failed to protect young women and girls from abuse.”

“I want to make a promise to all the women and abuse survivors present here today. I am not interested in correcting this wrong and moving forward,” he later added. “It is my commitment to you that I am more My entire senior leadership team is going to make sure that everyone in the FBI remembers what happened here. We need to remember the pain that happened when our people failed to do their job.”

Several lawmakers, including Sens Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), demanded to know why the Justice Department did not recommend prosecuting the two FBI agents for their actions.

“When we asked them [the Department of Justice] To bring in someone to explain it today, they declined and said they would not be involved,” Durbin said. “I understand that the process in the department is the basis for deciding not to pursue prosecution.” But it is not known, but it is clear that these agents not only renounced their duty when it came to these young women, but also did their best to hide what happened.”

When asked such questions, Horowitz repeatedly said, explaining that the department does not make formal recommendations to prosecutors on such matters.

In one of the most poignant moments of the hearing, Raisman talked about how a victim’s healing process is affected by abuse investigators.

“Being here today I have everything,” she said. “My main concern is, I hope I even have the energy to get out of here. I don’t think people realize how much this affects us, how much PTSD, trauma affects us.

“I’ve often wondered: Am I ever going to feel better?”

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