Olympic gold medallists McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman emotionally excoriated USA Gymnastics and the FBI in heartwrenching testimony for standing idly by while Dr. Larry Nassar sexually abused them and hundreds of female athletes.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the FBI fired Michael Langeman, who was an agent at the Indianapolis field office that interviewed Maroney in 2015. He was set to testify on Wednesday.
“Not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said,” Maroney recounted angrily in her testimony. She called Nassar “more of a pedophile than a doctor.”
“We have been failed and we deserve answers,” Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The scars of this horrific abuse continue.” She said that “the impact of this man’s abuse will never be over.”
(Video Credit: MSNBC)
(Video Credit: PBS Newshour)
Raisman asserted, “All we are asking for is when a child goes to gymnastics or goes to school or does anything that they can be spared abuse.” She told the committee that “we’ve been victim shamed online over and over again,” according to NPR.
(Video Credit: PBS Newshour)
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from both FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who in a July report found the bureau failed to do their sworn duty and adequately investigate the abuse charges against Nassar. That report found that the FBI made “fundamental” errors while looking into sexual abuse allegations against Nassar and failed to address the case with the “utmost seriousness.”
An investigation by the Inspector General was prompted when allegations were made by young female athletes that the FBI had not promptly looked into complaints made in 2015 that Nassar was molesting gymnasts. USA Gymnastics had conducted its own internal investigation and had reported the accusations to the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis. It took months for a formal investigation to finally begin.
At least 40 girls and probably many, many more were molested by Nassar over a 14-month period. During that time the FBI knew about other allegations against Nassar and did nothing. USA Gymnastics confronted the FBI over their inaction in 2016, eight months after the case was opened.
In 2016, Nassar was charged with federal child pornography offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan. He has since been sentenced to decades behind bars as hundreds of girls and women have stepped forward claiming he assaulted them while serving as their doctor. He worked for Michigan State and Indiana-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, at the time of many of the molestations.
In his testimony responding to the victims of Nassar, FBI Director Chris Wray told the Senate panel that the actions of the agents who mishandled the investigation are inexcusable, and he told them that one of the agents “no longer works for the bureau in any capacity.”
“I’m deeply and profoundly sorry,” Wray said.
He said that the “kinds of fundamental errors that were made in this case in 2015 and 2016 should have never happened, period.”
“I’m sorry 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,” claimed Wray.
In a prepared opening statement, the top Republican on the committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, declared that children “suffered needlessly because multiple agents in multiple offices at the FBI neglected to share the Nassar allegations with their law enforcement counterparts at state and local agencies.”
Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott retired from the FBI in 2018. He not only did not take the allegations seriously he also used the incidents as a way to seek employment with the U.S. Olympic Committee while he was involved with the Nassar investigation.
Neither Abbott nor Langeman was prosecuted for their actions.
There was a heated response on social media to the testimony:
You can hardly blame the @FBI for failing to protect those gymnasts. If those gymnasts wanted the FBI to fight on their behalf, they should have just claimed Larry Nassar was planing on running for president as a Republican.
Or made up a race hoax. Then the FBI would have helped
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) September 15, 2021
Anyone who has an ounce of compassion should be furious as to how this investigation was handled. We must demand better. These children should never have been abused and those who failed to investigate should be in jail.
— Into the Weeds We Go (@DebBRVA) September 15, 2021
It’s not good enough to say you’re sorry. It’s not good enough for one guy to lose his job. There has to be full accountability for Every Single Agent who let these kids down.
They deserve nothing less.
— Fred Devlin (@PhreddDevlin) September 15, 2021
The FBI agent in charge of this needs to go to jail. Absolutely unforgivable.
— Rich Flair (@DickFlair3) September 15, 2021
Seems to be a common theme among those in permanent Washington. Heard the same thing watching Binken at Senate Hearing on Afghanistan yesterday. Why can’t we get anyone to take responsibility?
— MAGACat (@Cat93216859) September 15, 2021
— Brittany (@britknee_00) September 15, 2021
And what was the FBI doing at this time? Investigating President Trump and the FAKE Russian Collusion hoax paid for by Hillary and the Democrats. They should have been protecting these girls!
— Jennifer Rote (@wildnmild4u) September 15, 2021
These girls deserve justice
— Miranda Duke (@miranda_duke) September 15, 2021
Sen. Leahy "A whole lot of people here should be prosecuted besides Nassar."
— Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) September 15, 2021
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