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"These FBI Agents Have Committed An Obvious Crime": Gymnasts Slam Feds For Mishandling Larry Nassar Case
Simone Biles testified that the FBI turned a blind eye to Larry Nassar's sexual assault accusers, choosing to protect the abuser instead.
Through powerful Senate testimony, Olympic gymnasts slammed the FBI for how they handled the Larry Nassar investigation during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C. this week.
"They allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year and this inaction directly allowed Nassar's abuse to continue," McKayla Maroney told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Maroney stated, "They had legal, legitimate evidence of child abuse and did nothing. If they're not going to protect me, I want to know who are they trying to protect? What's even more upsetting to me is that we know that these FBI agents have committed an obvious crime."
Maroney was joined by fellow gymnasts Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman as they detailed their experiences before the committee. The hearing comes two months after the Department of Justice declared that the FBI failed to promptly address complaints made against the former USA Gymnastics physician. The Department of Justice has not prosecuted the FBI officials in question, though earlier this month the FBI fired former FBI agent Michael Langeman, who is accused in the inspector general's report of failing to launch a proper investigation, as CNN reported.
In July, the FBI stated that the "actions and inactions of certain FBI employees described in the report are inexcusable and a discredit to this organization."
Nassar pleaded guilty in 2017 to criminal sexual conduct in relation to 10 of the more than 265 women and girls who have come forward to say they were assaulted. He is currently behind bars, serving up to 175 years in prison.
"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," Biles testified as she choked back tears while delivering her opening statement on Wednesday.
Biles said that “it truly feels that the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to protect" USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
“A message needs to be sent: if you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe,” she said. “Enough is enough."
Raisman testified that she felt as though the FBI pressured her to accept Nassar's plea deal.
"The agent diminished the significance of my abuse,” she said. “It made me feel my criminal case wasn't worth pursuing.”
During Maroney’s testimony, she accused the FBI of falsifying documents, noting that she was “shocked and deeply disappointed" after reading the inspector general’s report.
That report stated that the DOJ found that FBI officials in Indianapolis did not respond with the “utmost seriousness and urgency that the allegations deserved and required.” The report noted that FBI officials made “numerous and fundamental errors” and also violated bureau policies.
Maroney tore into the Department of Justice for not taking action against the disgraced FBI members.
"Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco couldn’t even bring herself to be here today, and it is the Department of Justice’s job to hold them accountable," she said. "I am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing."
Senators joined Maroney in criticizing the Department of Justice on Wednesday for the decision to not prosecute the FBI officials believed to have made these errors.
"It's not only that the FBI failed to do its job, systematically, and repeatedly. It is also the cover-up, the cover-up that occurred afterward," Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. "When FBI agents made material, false statements and deceptive omission referred by the inspector general for a criminal prosecution, those referrals were declined, without explanation. without any public explanation at all."