Several well-known American gymnasts testified about the FBI’s handling of Larry Nassar’s abuse at an open Senate hearing, and Simone Biles became upset as she shared her passionate remarks.
Officials from the FBI who examined complaints of sexual assault against Larry Nassar have been accused of going beyond the agency’s regulations. A Senate committee held a hearing on the FBI’s handling of the incident on September 15. Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols, some of Nassar’s most well-known victims, were in attendance to testify.
“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Simone Biles gives her opening statement at a Senate hearing on the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation. pic.twitter.com/yPJX0ejnLg
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 15, 2021
Simone’s voice cracked as she fought back tears as she delivered her impassioned opening remark. “I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete, or anybody else to go through the nightmare that I, and hundreds of others, have gone through before, during, and after Larry Nassar’s abuse,” she stated. “To be clear, I hold Larry Nassar responsible, but I also hold the entire institution responsible for enabling and perpetuating his abuse.”
Simone repeated her prior allegations against USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, claiming that both organizations were aware of the abuse “far before [she] was ever made aware of their knowledge.” While she blamed Nassar for what happened, she also stated that she did not feel protected by the institutions and organizations that were supposed to keep her safe.
She stated that until a now-famous piece about it was published in the Indianapolis Star in the fall of 2016, she didn’t “get the severity” of what was going on with the US Gymnastics’ official team doctor. She also stated that the FBI never contacted her about the allegations of abuse, despite the fact that USA Gymnastics authorities were aware of the situation.
McKayla’s testimony came after Simone’s, and she slammed the FBI for failing to report her abuse after she notified them about it in 2015. “They made completely inaccurate statements about what I stated when they finally documented it by report 17 months later,” McKayla claimed. “I was astonished and profoundly saddened at the narrative they chose to fabricate,” she continued.
“I would say I support them, I believe them,” Aly added as a message to any other abuse survivors. “Some days I feel better, others I feel like I’m taking a bunch of steps backwards,” she admitted, adding that she is still “navigating how to heal from” the abuse. But it’s all right.”
Simone and her fellow gymnasts have spoken extensively about Larry Nassar’s treatment of them when they were young kids. Other women did not come forward until after the Indianapolis Star article with Rachael Denhollander’s assault allegations was published. Nassar admitted to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual assault with juveniles under the age of 16 in November 2017. In January 2018, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in jail.