Simone Biles gave moving testimony on Tuesday at a US Senate hearing into the Larry Nassar abuse scandal, an episode that rocked the gymnastics world and involved some of America's most famous young athletes.
Nassar, former US team doctor gymnastics, is serving a sentence of 'life imprisonment after mistreating dozens of athletes in his charge. Biles and other Olympic gold medalists such as Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are among the survivors of the abuse. On Tuesday, they appeared before a Senate committee to give scathing testimony at the hearing into the 2015 FBI's failed investigation into the case.
Biles began his testimony with a quote from Nelson Mandela:" There can be no sharper revelation of the soul of a society than the way it treats its children. She must have briefly snappedhimself after being overcome with emotion, before continuing.
"To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that has permitted and perpetrated its abuse, "she said. Data" USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee knew that I 'had been mistreated by their official team doctor long before I became aware of their knowledge. ”
The FBI is accused of failing to properly investigated allegations that Nassar abused athletes in his custody. "The children suffered needlessly because several agents in several FBI offices failed to share Nassar's allegations with their enforcement counterparts laws in state agencies andocales, "said Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in remarks prepared ahead of Tuesday's hearing.
Biles, widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time , has been retired of several events at the Olympic Games this summer to maintain his sanity. She admitted on Tuesday that the legacy of Nassar 's abuse had affected her.
"The scars of this horrific abuse continue to live with us all ... J 'Worked incredibly hard to ensure that my presence could help maintain a connection between the failures [around the Nassar affair] and the competition at Tokyo 2020 "she said.
"This has proven to be an exceptionally difficult burden for me to carry, especially when I have to travel to Tokyo without the support of any family member. I am a strong person and will persevere, but I should never have been left alone to suffer Larry Nassar's abuse. And the only reason I did that was because of the failures that are at the heart of the abuses that you are now asked to investigate.
old added that she was concerned that similar cases could occur if proper action is not taken. “Nassar is his place. Those who allowed it deserve to be held accountable. If not, I have no doubts that this will continue to happen to other Olympic sports, ”she said.
Meanwhile, Maroney and Raisman described how the FBI failed to properly investigate their complaints against Nassar.
" After recounting all my story of FBI abuse in the summer of 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they finally documented my reportrt, 17 months later, they made completely false statements about what I said, "Maroney said. "Les y chose to fabricate. They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me, but countless others.
An investigation by the US Department of Justice discovered that Nassar may have assaulted up to 70 athletes between when the FBI first learned of the allegations and September 2016, when he was fired by his main employer, Michigan State University, after a police report been filed against him.
Raisman said it wasn't just the FBI that let her down. "My reports of abuse were not only buried by [USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee], but they were also treated badly by agents flaw enforcement officials who have failed to fulfill their most basic duties. "
Raisman described how Nassar's abuses continue to prevail. affect it. "I don't think people realize how much it affects us, how much PTSD, how much trauma affects us ... There are times when I feel like 'forget what I am saying. I feel like my mind is not working. I feel like I have no energy at all. I am 27 years old and my 80-year-old grandfather has more energy than me, "she said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared at the court hearing and admitted that his agency let down survivors of Nassar's abuse. "I want to be perfectly clear: the actions and inaction of the FBI employees detailed in this report are totally unacceptable," he said. declared.
W Jay Abbott, the FBI agent in charge of the 'Nassar initial survey, retired in 2018 and was not disciplined for his handling of the case . US Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Tuesday that Abbott gave false information during the investigation.
"This I'm worried that an FBI agent who lied, broke the law, knew he was breaking the law - and nothing is happening, "Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said during the interview. audience, the voice rising in anger. "I understand the procedure, but it bothers me very much that the failures of the FBI field office in Indianapolis delayed the start of the investigation into Larry Nassar's widespread sexual assault on more than 100 victims. And everyone, no matter where they are on the political spectrum or whatever, had to be ripped aparte while listening to the testimony of these victims this morning. "
USA Gymnastics has announced its intention to pay a settlement of $ 215 million (£ 164 million ) to athletes abused by Nassar. In February, Li Li Leung, CEO of USA Gymnastics, told CBS that the organization recognizes "how much we have broken the trust of our athletes and our community, and we work hard to restore that trust ".