Skip to content

Gymnasts Biles, Raisman, Maroney, Nichols rip FBI at Senate hearing on Larry Nassar

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children,” Simone Biles said. “It is the power of that statement that compels me to be in front of you today.”
Gymnasts testify 09152021
U.S. gymnasts, from left, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols leave after testifying at a Senate Judiciary hearing Wednesday about the Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington. Nassar was charged in 2016 with federal child pornography offenses and sexual abuse in Michigan. He is now serving decades in prison after hundreds of girls and women said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment when he worked for Michigan State and Indiana-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. (Saul Loeb | AP)

Gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols gave powerful testimonies before a Senate committee against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar on Wednesday.

In a cascade of raw emotion, the athletes called out the FBI, Justice Department and others for failing to protect them and others against the sexual abuse they were exposed to at the hands of Nassar.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children,” Biles said in her opening statement. “It is the power of that statement that compels me to be in front of you today. 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.”

During Maroney’s opening statement, the decorated gymnast called out the FBI’s handling of her claims.

“After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, 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,” she said.

Raisman said that she felt “pressured by the FBI to consent to Nassar’s plea deal” and that it took over 14 months for them to get back to her after she made several requests to be interviewed.

“In 2015, it was known that at least six national team athletes had been abused by Nassar,” Raisman said. “There was even one of the athletes that was abused on film. Given our abuser’s unfettered access to children, stopping him should have been a priority. Instead, the following occurred: The FBI failed to interview pertinent parties in a timely manner. It took over 14 months for the FBI to contact me despite my many requests to be interviewed by them.”

Maroney said that the FBI committed “an obvious crime” and that action needs to be taken.

“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?” she said.

“What’s even more upsetting to me is that we know that these FBI agents have committed an obvious crime. They falsified my statement, and that is illegal in itself. Yet no recourse has been taken against them. The Department of Justice refused to prosecute these individuals. Why?” she asked. “Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco couldn’t bring herself to be here today. It’s the Department of Justice’s job to hold them accountable.”

Nichols, who was the first to report the abuse, said that it took the FBI more than a year to contact her after she initially reported it.

“The cover-up of my abuse and the FBI’s failure to interview me for more than a year after my complaint are well documented in the OIG report. After I reported my abuse to USA Gymnastics, my family and I were told by their former president, Steve Penny, to keep quiet and not say anything that could hurt the FBI investigation. We now know there was no real FBI investigation occurring. While my complaints [were] with the FBI, Larry Nassar continued to abuse women and girls,” she said.