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Olympic gymnast Simone Biles blasts FBI, USA Gymnastics for enabling Nassar sex abuse | Off the field News


WASHINGTON (AP) – Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney told US lawmakers on Wednesday that she feels betrayed by FBI agents after they failed to investigate former US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, despite her telling them she had it. sexually abused.
Maroney is one of four athletes, along with Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Maggie nichols, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee as it investigated the FBI’s mishandling of the investigation.
Maroney recalled how in 2015 she spent three hours on the phone telling the FBI details of her story that her own mother had not even heard, including accounts of sexual abuse she suffered during the London Olympics by Nassar, whom she described as ” more pedophile “than doctor.
However, it wasn’t until July of this year that she said that the Justice Department inspector general revealed in a scathing report what the FBI actually did with the information she provided: not documenting it for a year and a half and misrepresenting what she did. He told them about his experiences.
“Not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they finally documented my report 17 months later, they made completely false claims about what I said,” Maroney said, anger in his voice.
Wednesday’s hearing comes after the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz in July it issued a scathing report criticizing the FBI for messing up its investigation into a series of mistakes that allowed the abuse to continue for months.
Several of the gymnasts said they were furious that the FBI did not immediately interview them about the abuse after they reported it. Once the FBI finally contacted them, they said the agents tried to downplay the severity of the abuse.
“I remember sitting with the FBI agent and him trying to convince me that it wasn’t that bad,” Raisman said.
“It took me years of therapy to realize that my abuse was bad, that it does matter.”
Horowitz also appeared Wednesday along with FBI Director Chris Wray, who is expected to face sharp bipartisan questioning as to why the agents who screwed up the investigation were never prosecuted for their misconduct.
“It is not just that the FBI failed to do its job, consistently and repeatedly. It is also the cover-up – the cover-up that occurred when FBI agents made materially false statements and misleading omissions,” the Senator said. Richard Blumenthal he said, adding that the Justice Department has refused to prosecute the agents.
Wray told the panel that the actions of the agents who screwed up the investigation are inexcusable and “totally unacceptable.”
“I am deeply and deeply sorry,” Wray said, adding that errors in the investigation should never have occurred.
The FBI investigation into Nassar began in July 2015, after the president and CEO of USA Gymnastics Stephen Penny reported the allegations to the FBI’s Indianapolis field office.
That office, then headed by Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott, did not formally open an investigation. The FBI only interviewed one witness months later, in September 2015, and did not formally document that interview in an official report known as “302” until February 2017, long after the FBI arrested Nassar on charges of possession of images. sexually explicit of children. in December 2016.
When the interview was finally documented in 2017 by an anonymous supervisory special agent, the report was littered with “materially false information and materially omitted information,” the Horowitz report determined.
Abbott, who retired from the FBI in 2018, also violated the FBI’s conflict of interest policy by discussing a possible job with the US Olympic Committee while he was involved in the Nassar investigation.
As the FBI delayed its investigation, Nassar continued to abuse more victims. At one point in Wednesday’s hearing, Blumenthal asked the four athletes if they knew of victims who were abused after the July 2015 disclosure to the FBI.
“Yes,” all four said.
Neither Abbott nor the other unidentified supervisory special agent who botched Nassar’s investigation were prosecuted for their actions.
“They have failed us and we deserve answers,” Biles said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Raisman expressed frustration that no more has been done to investigate USA Gymnastics or the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee for covering up Nassar’s abuse for years.
“Why did neither of these organizations warn anyone? USAG and USOPC have a long history of allowing abuse by turning a blind eye. Both organizations knew of Nassar’s abuse long before it was made public,” he said.
Spokesmen for both organizations could not be immediately reached for comment.
Nassar has been found guilty in three separate cases, with one of the prison terms going up to 175 years. Prosecutors have estimated that he sexually assaulted hundreds of women and girls.

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