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Monday, October 18, 2021

Simone Biles: “I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame the entire system that allowed his abuse”

American gymnast Simone Biles blamed the American gymnastics federation and “the whole system” for allowing Larry Nassar, who was a doctor for the national team for 20 years, to sexually abuse her and hundreds of other gymnasts.

“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame the entire system that allowed his abuse.”said Biles, the most decorated Olympic gymnast of all time, testifying Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee about the abuse she suffered by former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Former teammates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols, the first gymnast to report Larry Nassar’s abuse, and FBI Director Christopher Wray were also heard by the committee that is reviewing the flaws in the FBI investigation into Nassar. , who was later convicted of sexual assault and is currently serving a life sentence.

In emotional testimony, the four women told the Senate Judiciary Committee how they “suffered and continue to suffer,” first with the abuse and then with how their complaints were ignored and how they were handled by the authorities.

Simone Biles was clear in blaming USA Gymnastics, the Olympic Committee and the country’s Paralympics, who “knew they were being abused by the team doctor.”

Olympic champion Rio2016 also accused the FBI, the US federal department of investigation, of having “turned its back” on the gymnasts, responding inappropriately and slowly to the first accusations against Nassar, which will have allowed him the former doctor continue the abuse. for months. Therefore, he requested that the agents involved in the case be prosecuted.

“How much is a girl worth?”Simone Biles asked. “I really feel like the FBI turned a blind eye.”

Biles says that “a whole system allowed and perpetrated” the abuses against her and hundreds of young people, who for their age did not even know that they were being abused by Nassar.

“I don’t want any other young Olympian or anyone else to suffer the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured and continue to endure.”declared Biles, moved to the point of beginning to cry, before dozens of legislators, who looked at her in silence.

Aly Raisman, who was captain of the US Olympic gymnastics teams in 2012 and 2016, expressed her displeasure that, more than six years after reporting her abuse, she “still struggles for the most basic answers and accountability. “.

“In recent years, it has become painfully clear how a survivor’s healing is affected by the way abuse is handled.”, he said.

Raisman also criticized the FBI investigation, emphasizing that failure to assess its serious flaws would result in a recurring “nightmare” for many more women.

McKayla Maroney, who won gold at the 2012 London Olympics, said that when interviewed by the FBI she felt enormous “silence and indifference” to her trauma. “” They chose to distort and lie about what I said and protect an abuser. as children ”, he accused.

“What’s the use of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to bury this report in a drawer?”

The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to clarify why the FBI Indianapolis office, where USA Gymnastics is based, responded inappropriately to the allegations against Nassar.

An internal Justice Department report in July revealed serious errors within the FBI that led to the investigation stalled for more than eight months. When this 119-page document was released, a group of senators appeared with a hearing to investigate the FBI’s response and correct institutional errors.

Nassar used his position as a doctor to abuse at least 330 young people, including minors and Olympians. It covers a penalty of 40 to 175 years for the accumulation of these crimes and another 60 years for child pornography, that is, a de facto life sentence.

The sentence was handed down between December 2017 and February 2018, coinciding with the start of the #MeToo movement in the United States.

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