Sports | September 15, 2021 3:16 pm

Simone Biles: USA Gymnastics and FBI Turned “Blind Eye” to Nassar’s Abuse

Biles, Aly Raisman and other gymnasts testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday

U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about Larry Nassar
U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about Larry Nassar.
Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty

Testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning during a hearing about the FBI’s handling of the investigation into disgraced former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar, Simone Biles said the bureau turned a “blind eye” to the sexual abuse hundreds of women, including herself, suffered.

Biles, the 2016 Olympic champion and five-time world champion who is widely considered to be the greatest gymnast of all time, was blunt.

“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 – USA Gymnastics (USAG) and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) – failed to do their jobs,” she said. “I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day, in the wake — of the Larry Nassar abuse. To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse. USA gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic committee knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge.”

Biles added that the FBI never contacted her about their investigation into sex abuse claims related to Nassar even though USA Gymnastics knew she had been abused.

In addition to Biles, Aly Raisman, former Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney and former World and NCAA champion Maggie Nichols testified they were sexually assaulted by Nassar during their time with the national team.

“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 testified. “They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me but countless others. By not taking action from my report they (the FBI) allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year. They had legal evidence of child abuse and did nothing.”

Following the testimony of the gymnasts, FBI Director Christopher Wray also testified in front of the committee.

Wray, who was not leading the FBI in 2015 when the bureau first received complaints about Nassar and ascended to his position in 2017, acknowledged “the kinds of fundamental errors that occurred in 2015 and 2016 should never have happened” and said he was “heartsick and furious” when he heard the bureau had made so many mistakes after he took charge of the agency.

He also apologized.

“I’m deeply and profoundly sorry,” Wray said. “I’m especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster in 2015 and failed. It never should have happened. And we’re doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”