Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and three other award-winning athletes will testify this week before a Senate panel investigating the FBI’s “gross mishandling” of multiple sexual abuse complaints against former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
Nassar was sentenced in 2018 to up to 175 years in prison for child sex abuse as more than 150 young women turned up in court to confront him. He was already serving 60 years for child pornography. A judge who sentenced Nassar told him: “You do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again.”
After receiving complaints about Nassar in 2015, the FBI took no significant action for a year, allowing him to continue to abuse scores of girls and young women during physical exams in his work with both the Olympic team and as a sports doctor at Michigan State University.
The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice determined in a report released last month that the bureau made “fundamental errors” in the investigation, including failing to notify local and state authorities of the complaints and failing to act “with the urgency that the allegations required.”
Biles will be joined by her Olympic teammates McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, as well as by former collegiate gymnast Maggie Nichols, to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s “dereliction of duty” hearing Wednesday morning.
All of the women were sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment.
Biles and Raisman were among the gymnasts who first reported Nassar to the FBI. Maroney, who said Nassar sexually abused her “hundreds” of times, has said she reported him to her coach 10 years ago but that the coach did nothing.
After the inspector general’s report was released, a bipartisan group of senators announced the creation of the oversight hearing into the FBI’s conduct.
“The FBI’s gross mishandling of the reports of Nasser’s abuse led to more athletes suffering unimaginable pain. There must be accountability for this chilling failure to properly investigate — and false statements potentially intended to cover up that failure,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said at the time.
A spokesperson for the FBI told HuffPost after the inspector general’s report was issued that the actions of its employees in the Nassar case are “inexcusable and a discredit to this organization.”
Biles said earlier this year that given what happened to her, she wouldn’t let a future daughter compete for USA Gymnastics “because I don’t feel comfortable enough, because they haven’t taken accountability for their actions and what they’ve done. And they haven’t ensured us that it’s never going to happen again.”
She has repeatedly pressed for a full investigation into why no one stopped Nassar for so long.