Simone Biles Faults FBI For Failing To Stop Sexual Abuse Of Gymnasts

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Olympic gymnastics superstar Simone Biles had a strong response for USA Gymnastics in a birthday tweet, again calling for an independent investigation into the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal
Olympic gymnastics superstar Simone Biles had a strong response for USA Gymnastics in a birthday tweet, again calling for an independent investigation into the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles blamed the FBI for failing to do enough to stop the abuse of athletes by sex offender Larry Nassar.

Biles and four other athletes appeared before Congress to fault the bureau, USA Gymnastics and the Olympic and Paralympic Committees for allowing Nassar to continue his abuses for so long. She blamed the disgraced coach as well as the “entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse” for failing to protect her or the 150 women and girls he molested.

"I am also a survivor of sexual abuse. And 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,” said Biles, holding back tears.

The Olympian, considered one of the greatest of all time for her records, said that the FBI failed to contact either her or her parents about an investigation into Nassar, who is now serving between 40 and 173 years in prison. She called on the agents responsible to be prosecuted for mishandling the case.

“Nassar is where he belongs, but those who enabled him have failed to be held accountable,” she said.

McKayla Maroney expressed similar sentiments and accused the FBI agents from the Indianapolis field office that was responsible for the Nassar probe of committing an "obvious crime". Maroney also faulted the Department of Justice for failing to take action even after the gravity of the FBI’s mistakes were put on display.

"To not indict these agents is a disservice to me and my teammates, a disservice to the system which is built to protect all of us from abuse," the gymnast said.


McKayla Maroney
Former Olympian McKayla Maroney, pictured Aug. 4, 2012, was not impressed when she was accused of getting lip injections.
Photo: Reuters

In July, the DOJ Inspector General released its report detailing how FBI agents conducted the investigation into Nassar. The Special Agent in Charge of the Indianapolis field office, Jay W. Abbott, and Supervisory Special Agent Michael Langeman were faulted for conducting “limited follow-up” into the allegations and for not interviewing two witnesses in the case. Both were accused of violating policy and making false statements about the investigation.

Abbott retired from the FBI in 2018 and Langeman was fired on the day of the athletes’ testimony over the inspector general's report. This news was first reported by the Washington Post.

Speaking after gymnasts, FBI Director Christopher Wray extended his apologies to all of the women victimized by Nassar. He said that the FBI’s failure was “inexcusable” and that the agency would do “everything in its power” to not repeat the same mistake. Wray, who was not serving as director at the time of the investigation, said he was “heartsick and furious” when he learned about the conduct of the Indianapolis office.

“I'm sorry that 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," Wray testified in his opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Facing Wray was a furious Congress that assailed the FBI for not doing enough to either hold officials accountable for not protecting the victims in the Nassar case. Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) called the case a “stain on the bureau” and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) tore into the FBI for mishandling the investigation “from coast to coast.” After the hearing, Blumenthal said the FBI "became an enabler rather than an enforcer" for botching the investigation.

The Republican ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), said that the goal of the hearing should be to understand exactly why the system failed to stop Nassar. He added that the inspector general’s report made clear that "we need to make sure the bureau is more effective and held more accountable."

The White House also commented during the testimony by saying President Joe Biden supports the FBI as it looks to implement reforms to flaws identified by the inspector general.

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