Simone Biles Says the FBI ‘Turned a Blind Eye’ to Larry Nassar

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The Cut 15 September, 2021 - 04:21pm 23 views

What did Larry Nassar do?

According to the indictment, Nassar received or attempted to receive images of child pornography in 2004; and possessed thousands of images of child pornography between 2003 and 2016. Images included a person younger than 12 years old, the indictment said. The Indianapolis StarFBI agent Michael Langeman fired in Nassar case: History of the crimes, investigation

According to the athletes’ testimonies, all three entities knew about the allegations against Nassar long before any action was taken, and allowed him to continue molesting young athletes under his alleged care for more than a year after his abuse was reported.

“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said through tears. She continued, “I believe without a doubt that the circumstances that led to my abuse and allowed it to continue are directly the result of the fact that the organizations created by Congress to oversee and protect me as an athlete … failed to do their jobs. It truly feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to help protect the USAG and USOPC.”

The hearing follows a Justice Department investigation released in July, which found that the FBI agents investigating Nassar’s case violated the bureau’s policies, covering up the allegations against Nassar for months before opening an investigation. It estimated that between July 2015, when USAG first reported the allegations to the FBI, and October 2016, when the Lansing, Michigan, branch officially opened its investigation, Nassar abused upwards of 70 athletes.

At the center of the report’s findings is W. Jay Abbott, an FBI supervisor who was in talks with Steve Penny, the USAG president at the time, about a job opportunity at the organization. According to Raisman, Penny supervised her interview with the FBI, which came after 14 months of repeatedly requesting to be interviewed and being told that the case was being handled. Raisman was also told by the USAG to keep the case confidential and was discouraged from speaking with Maroney, who had also made a report. Nichols also recalled Penny telling her family to keep quiet about the abuse when she reported it in 2015 so as not to interfere with the FBI investigation — which she later found out did not yet exist.

What did exist, at the very least, was a three-hour phone call Maroney says she had with the FBI in the summer of 2015, around the time the USAG first alerted the FBI. According to her testimony, Maroney told FBI agents on the line about all of the times Nassar had molested her in “extreme detail.” They were silent for a minute when she was done, and then asked, “Is that all?” The interview, she says, was not documented until 17 months later, and filled with lies about what she had alleged.

The FBI wasn’t the only organization which sat on the allegations. Biles testified that the USAG knew she was a suspected victim of Nassar’s abuse as far back as May 2015, when Nichols (her teammate at the time) said as much to the head of the organization’s Women’s Program. Throughout the summer of 2016, during which she competed at the Rio Olympic Games as part of Team USA, Biles said she had no idea there were even reports of Nassar’s abuse out there. Only in the fall of that year did she hear about the case through an Indianapolis Star report, which was also the first time the allegations reached the public.

In her testimony, Biles also recalled this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, where she dropped out of the women’s team finals due to mental-health challenges. “The announcement in the spring of 2020 that the Tokyo Games were to be postponed by a year meant that I would be going to the gym, to training, to therapy, living daily among the reminders of this story for another 365 days,” Biles said. She continued, “I never should have been left alone to suffer the abuse of Larry Nassar.”

Read full article at The Cut

Texas gymnastics icon Simone Biles and teammates testify before Congress about abuse

CultureMap Dallas 15 September, 2021 - 11:32am

Texas-based Olympic superstar Simone Biles and fellow Olympian McKayla Maroney ripped the FBI and the Justice Department in Senate testimony Wednesday, September 15 for how FBI agents mishandled abuse allegations brought against Larry Nassar and then made false statements in the fallout from the botched investigation.

"They allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year and this inaction directly allowed Nassar's abuse to continue," Maroney told the Senate Judiciary Committee after recounting the vivid details she provided the agent interviewing her about Nassar's abuse.

"What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?" she added.

Maroney, Biles, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman were assaulted by Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who is now serving a several-decade prison sentence.

"It truly feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to help protect," USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Biles testified while holding back tears.

"A message needs to be sent: If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough," she said.

Allegations into Nassar were first brought to the agency in July 2015. Several violations of protocols led to months of delay, as captured in a scathing Justice Department inspector general report released in July.

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