WASHINGTON – Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, considered one of the world’s greatest gymnasts, broke down in tears on Wednesday as she shared her story as a survivor of sexual abuse by American doctor Larry Nassar.
Biles, who won 25 world championship medals and seven Olympic medals for the United States team, said in her opening statement that she believed the abuse had occurred because the organizations created by Congress to protect her as an athlete – USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee – “didn’t do her job.”
“I don’t want another young gymnast, or Olympic athlete, or any other individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and today as a result of the abuse of Larry Nassar, “Biles said, his voice choked with emotion.
His testimony comes after a report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General released in July detailed the FBI’s mismanagement of the Nassar case.
Biles said after reading the report, she felt that the FBI “turned a blind eye.”
“We have suffered and continue to suffer because no one in the FBI, USAG or USOPC did what was necessary to protect us,” she said. “We have failed and we deserve answers. Nassar is where it belongs, but those who made it possible deserve to be held accountable. If they are not, I have no doubts it will continue to happen to others in Olympic sports. “
Judicial Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Said in his opening statement Wednesday that the report painted “a shocking picture of the FBI’s dereliction of duty and blatant incompetence.”
“The FBI’s handling of the Nassar case is a stain on the desk,” Durbin said.
In another opening statement, Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Described Nassar’s abuse as “heinous” and “hideous” and said it should never happen again.
“There is no doubt that Larry Nassar was a monster – a horrible predator,” Blumenthal said, adding that a Senate report on the investigation focused not only on these monsters but on their enablers, “the institutions that you lacked, schools like Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, coaches and coaches. They all looked the other way.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said lawmakers will not be satisfied with “platitudes and vague promises of improved performance.”
“If this monster may have continued to harm these women and girls after its victims first surrendered to the FBI, how many other attackers have escaped justice?” Cornyn asked.
Prominent committee member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the children were “suffering needlessly” because several agents in several FBI offices “neglected to share” the allegations against Nassar with their counterparts in charge of the crime. law enforcement.
Grassley said he was working on legislation to fill a loophole in a sex tourism law that the Inspector General highlighted in his report.
“This loophole in the law has allowed Nassar to escape federal prosecution for assaulting children while traveling overseas, and it can never happen again,” he said.
In 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to abusing 10 of the more than 265 women and girls who came forward to say they had been assaulted. He is serving up to 175 years in prison.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from Olympic gymnasts Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman on Wednesday.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was not head of the agency during the initial investigation, and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz are also expected to testify. Wray should describe the changes that have been put in place to ensure that the agency conducts proper investigations into such allegations of sexual abuse in the future.