The Olympic champions, heroes of young women and girls across the country for their sporting exploits, served as champions on Wednesday for survivors of sexual abuse as they called to account those who allowed Larry Nassar, who have abused them and dozens of others for years.
Simone Biles , McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, alongside fellow gymnast Maggie Nichols, recounted their experiences in front of the Senate Judiciary Commission, following an investigation by the Inspector General of the Ministry of Justice. report which revealed how he FBI did not respond to their complaints. Consequently,they said, Nassar - who was once a doctor for USA Gymnastics - was able to continue his model of abuse against young women and girls.
GYMNASTICS SEXUAL ABUSE SCANDAL UNITED STATES: FBI READ ONE AGENT BEFORE THE SENATE TESTIMONY
"I don 't want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete or any other individual to experience horror than myself and hundreds more have endured before, during and even today in the wake of Larry Nassar's abuse, "Biles said, choking back tears as she delivered her statement. opening.
"How much is a little girl worth? " asked Biles, referring to the title of a book written by fellow survivor Rachael Denhollander. She urged government officials to keep this issue in mind when taking action.
"No one in the FBI,either the USAG or the USOPC did what was necessary to protect us, "said Biles, referring to United States Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. " "We have failed and we deserve answers.
"Looking at the OIG report, " Biles continued, "he really feels like the FBI has shut us down eyes and went out of his way to protect USAG and USOPC. A message needs to be sent: If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be quick and severe. Enough is enough. "
Maroney recalled his experience with the FBI, talking to them on the phone for three hours because she was tooill to meet in person. She explained to the committee how she answered all of their questions and discussed in detail each case of abuse she had suffered.
"After telling my whole story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, not only did the FBI fail to report my abuse, but when they finally documented my report 17 months later, they made completely false claims about it. that I said, "said Maroney, stating that she " was shocked and deeply disappointed "by what she had read. in the Inspector General 's report.
"USA Gymnastics, along with the FBI and the Olympic Committee, were working together to cover up that Larry Nassar was a predator " said Maroney.
She also called the Justice Department for failing to take action against her failed FBI members.
MCKAYLA MARONEY: I WAS FORCED TO COMPETE WITH A BROKEN FOOT THANKS TO LARRY NASSAR
"Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco couldn't even bring herself to be here today, and it 's the job of the Justice Department to hold them accountable," Maroney said. "I'm tired to wait for people to do the right thing. "
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US Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testifies at Senate hearing on reportof the Inspector General on the FBI 's handling of the Larry Nassar investigation on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, September 15, 2021, in Washington. (Graeme Jennings / Pool via AP) (Graeme Jennings / Pool via AP)
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US Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols arrive to testify at a Senate court hearing on the Inspector General's report on the FBI's treatment of the 'in order toLarry Nassar on sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, September 15, 2021. Saul Loeb / Pool via REUTERS (Saul Loeb / Pool via REUTERS)
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Gymnasts of the United States Left-wing Emirates Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman arrive for a Senate court hearing on the Inspector General's report on the FBI's handling by the The Nassar Inquest on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, September 15 2021, in Washington. (Graeme Jennings / Pool via AP) (Graeme Jennings / Pool via AP)
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US Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols arrive to testify at a Senate court hearing into the Inspector General's report on the FBI's handling of Larry Nassar's investigation into sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts, in Capitol Hill, Wash. , DC, September 15, 2021. Saul Loeb / Pool via REUTERS (Saul Loeb / Pool via REUTERS)
"It 's heartbreaking to think about what you have been through, " Committee Chairman Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill. , said, thanking the women for their testimony. He then asked what message they have for young girls who "suffer in silence ". abuse. "Just remember: I believe you, I support you. You are not alone.
Maroney said hearing from other survivors helped her cure.
Ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he is urging the Justice Department to prosecute FBI employees who failed to take appropriate action against Nassar following the reports against him.
Later in the hearing, when Rep. Cory Booker, DN.J., asked if any of the women had a message for the country, Raisman said she wanted to make sureTell people how difficult it is for survivors to cope with their trauma. Although she had competed in two Olympics, Raisman said there had been times when she didn't have the energy to stand in the shower or take a short walk.
"Being here today is taking everything I've got," she said. "My main concern is to hope that I have the very energy to come out of here.