Olympic winning Simone Biles, 24, on Wednesday testified before the Senate about her abuse in the hands of disgraced team USA team doctor Larry Nassar.
Speaking at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation, she blamed faulty systems which powered such abuse, adding she hopes they can be changed to help and prevent others from falling victims.
“I don’t want another young gymnast, or Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during, and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nasser abuse,” said Biles.
“I blame Larry Nasser, and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.
“If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe.”
The committee is examining shortcomings in the FBI’s investigation into Nassar, who was later convicted of sexually abusing girls.
The Olympic athlete who felt let down by many organisations and authorities, including the FBI said:
“We suffered and continue to suffer, because no one at FBI, [USA Gymnastics] or the [United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee] did what was necessary to protect us,” said Biles.
“We have been failed and we deserve answers. Nasser is where he belongs, but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable.
“If they are not, I am convinced that this will continue to happen to others across Olympic sports.”
An emotionally laden Biles couldn’t hold back tears while testifying.
Larry Nassar is serving a life sentence behind bars, but the investigation into the FBI’s handling of the case is ongoing.
Former teammates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols also appeared before the committee, along with FBI Director Christopher Wray.
In total, Nassar was accused of sexual abuse by more than 330 women and girls at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. He was sentenced in 2018 to up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting hundreds of girls and women.
A long-awaited report into the FBI’s investigation, which was published in July, found numerous missteps, delays, and cover-ups by FBI agents, which allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue for several more months after the case was first opened.
FBI Director Christopher Wray also testified at Wednesday’s hearing and apologized to Biles, Maroney, Raisman, and Nichols.
“I’m sorry for what you and your families have been through. I’m sorry that so many different people let you down over and over again. And I’m especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed,” said Wray, who wasn’t FBI director at the time allegations against Nassar were made. “That is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we’re doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”
Wray confirmed in his testimony that the FBI has fired an Indianapolis-based agent who failed to investigate allegations against Nassar. He also said another agent criticized in the inspector general’s report retired from the agency in January 2018
“I and my entire senior leadership team will make damn sure everybody at the FBI remembers what happened here in heartbreaking detail,” Wray said, later adding that the FBI has instituted policy changes recommended in the inspector general’s report. “We need to remember the pain that occurred when our people failed to do their jobs. We need to study it. We need to learn from it.”