Simone Biles on Wednesday blamed the US gymnastics federation and “the whole system” for allowing Larry Nassar, the national team doctor for 20 years, to sexually abuse her and hundreds of other gymnasts.
The top American gymnast, before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, was clear in spread the blame to USA Gymnastics, to the country’s Olympic and Paralympic Committee, who “knew that I was being abused by the team doctor”.
The Rio 2016 Olympic champion, who withdrew from several finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the name of mental health, also accused the FBI, the US federal department of investigation, of having “turned away” from the gymnasts, in responding inappropriately and slowly to the first accusations against Nassar, which allowed the former doctor to continue the abuse for months.
Bile says that “an entire system allowed and perpetuated” the abuses against her and hundreds of young people, who for their age did not even know they were being abused by Nassar.
“I don’t want any other young Olympic sportsman or any other individual to suffer the horror that I and hundreds of others endured and continue to endure“, declared Biles, moved to the point of beginning to cry, before dozens of lawmakers, who watched her in silence.
At the beginning of the testimony, Biles said that he could not imagine a place where he was “more uncomfortable” than in the Senate Committee room. Next to her sat three other Olympic gymnasts, who also accuse Nassar: McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman.
The Senate Judiciary Committee seeks to clarify why the FBI office in Indianapolis, where the headquarters of USA Gymnastics is located, responded inappropriately to the accusations against Nassar.
An internal Justice Department report in July revealed serious errors within the FBI that led to the investigation stopped more than eight months. When this 119-page document was made public, a group of senators came forward with a hearing to investigate the FBI’s response and to correct institutional errors.
Nassar used his position as a doctor to abuse at least 330 young people, including minors and Olympic athletes. He serves a penalty of 40 to 175 years for the accumulation of these crimes and another 60 years for child pornography, in other words, a de facto life imprisonment.
The conviction was handed down between December 2017 and February 2018, coinciding with the beginning of the #MeToo movement in the United States.