WASHINGTON, September 15 (Hfrance.fr) - Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney told US lawmakers on Wednesdaythat she felt betrayed by FBI agents, after they failed to investigate former US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, despite telling them that he was there. 'had sexually assaulted.
FBI Director Chris Wray told the Senate panel that the actions of the agents who botched the investigation are inexcusable, and he announced that one of the agents "no longer works for the office in any capacity.
"I am deeply and deeply sorry, "said Wray.
Maroney is one of four athletes, along with Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, who have testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee as he probes the mismanagement of the investigation by the FBI.
Maroney recalled how, in 2015 , she spent three hours on the phone telling the FBI the details of her story that heHer own mother hadn't even heard of it, including the accounts of sexual abuse she suffered during the London Olympics by Nassar, whom she described as "more pedophile " than he was. 'he was a doctor.
However, it was not until July of this year that she declared that the he inspector general of the Ministry of Justice had revealed in a scathing report what the FBI actually did with the information she provided: not documenting it for a year and a half, and distorting what she told them about her experiences.
"Not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they finally documented my report 17 months later, they made claims entirely wrong about what I said "said Maroney, with anger in his voice.
Wednesday's hearing comes after the Justice Department's hearing. Inspector General Michael Horowitz in July published a scathing report which lambasted the FBI for botching its investigation in a series of errors that allowed the abuse to continue for months.
Several gymnasts said they were furious that the FBI did not immediately question them about the abuse after reporting it. Once the FBI finally contacted them, they said agents tried to minimize the severity of the abuse.
"I remember being sitting with the FBI agent and him trying to convince me it wasn't that bad, "said Raisman.
" It took me years of therapy to realize that my abuse was bad, that 's important. "
Horowitz also appeared on Wednesday with Wray.
Horowitz said the now-fired agent who falsified Maroney's statement " could have compromised the criminal investigation by providing false information that could have strengthened Nassar's defense. "
US Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols arrive to testify at a Senate court hearing on the report of Inspector General on FBI Handling of Larry Nassar's Investigation of Sexual Abuse of Olympic Gymnasts, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, US September 15, 2021. Saul Loeb / Pool via Hfrance.fr
The FBI investigation into Nassar began in July 2015, after USA Gymnastics CEO Stephen Penny reported the allegations to the FBI field office in Indianapolis.
This office, then headed by Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott, did has not officially opened an investigation. The FBI only interviewed one witness months later, in September 2015, and did not only document this interview in an official report known as "302 " untilFebruary 2017 - well after the FBI arrested Nassar for possessing sexually explicit images of children in December 2016.
When the interview was eventually documented in 2017 by an anonymous surveillance special agent, the report was filled with "materially false information and important information omitted," the Horowitz report determined.
Abbott, who retired from the FBI in 2018, also violated the FBI's conflict of interest policy by discussing possible employment with the then US Olympic Committee that he was involved with the Nassar investigation.
As the FBI delayed its investigation, Nassar continued to abuse more victims. At one point during Wednesday's hearing, Senator Richard Blumenthal asked the four athletes if they knew of any victims who had been abused after the
"Yes, " all four said.
Neither Abbott nor the other anonymous Special Supervisory Agent who botched the Nassar investigation has been prosecuted for their actions.
Wray said the case had been presented twice for possible prosecution and refused, but relied on federal prosecutors to explain their reasoning.
"We have failed and we deserve answers " said Biles on Wednesday.
Raisman, meanwhile , expressed frustration that more was done to investigate USA Gymnastics or the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee for covering up Nassar's abuse for years.
" Why did neither of these organizations warn? USAG and USOPC have a long history of permbe the abuse by closing your eyes. Both organizations were aware of Nassar's abuses long before they were made public, "she said.
Spokesmen for the two organizations could not immediately be reached for comment.
Nassar was convicted in three separate cases, the one of prison terms of up to 175 years. Prosecutors estimated that he sexually assaulted hundreds of women and girls. Sarah N. Lynch report; Frank additional reporting Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Scott Malone and Lisa Shumaker
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