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Biles: FBI turned blind eye to coach’s sexual abuse

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Larry Nassar

Larry Nassar

United States Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing. Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP

United States Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing. Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP

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Larry Nassar

A tearful Simone Biles last night blamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation for failing to stop Larry Nassar sexually assaulting young gymnasts, accusing it of having “turned a blind eye” to his abuse of her and others.

In forceful testimony during a United States Senate hearing into shortcomings in the FBI’s investigation of Nassar, the four-time Olympic champion demanded that those who “enabled” the former USA Gymnastics team doctor be held “accountable”, adding: “Enough is enough.”

Biles, who said her abuse at the hands of Nassar played a part in her missing almost the whole of Tokyo 2020 to focus on her mental health, warned a failure to act would lead to a repeat in other sports.

Former team-mates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney also appeared before the Senate judiciary committee, along with FBI director Christopher Wray.

The bureau had been made aware of allegations against Nassar in mid-2015 but he was not charged until the end of the following year and at least 40 girls and women have said he molested them during that time.

He was finally jailed in 2017, following subsequent convictions, and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison, with his total number of victims estimated to be at least 500.

“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said. “I sit before you today to raise my voice so that no little girl must endure what I, the athletes at this table and the countless others needlessly suffered under Nassar’s guise of medical treatment, which we continue to endure to today.

“We have been failed and we deserve answers. Nassar is where he belongs but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable.

“If they are not, I am convinced that this will continue to happen to others across Olympic sports. As the lone competitor in the recent Tokyo games who was a survivor of this horror, I can assure you that the impacts of this man’s abuse are not ever over or forgotten.

“This meant I would be going to the gym, to training, to therapy, living daily among the reminders of this story for another 365 days. It really feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us.

“If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough.”

An internal investigation by the Justice Department released in July found the FBI made fundamental errors in its Nassar probe and had not treated the case with the “utmost seriousness” after USA Gymnastics first reported the allegations to the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis in 2015.

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Addressing Biles and Nassar’s other victims directly, Wray said: “I am deeply and profoundly sorry to each and every one of you.

“I am sorry that so many people let you down over and over again and I am especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance

to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable.”

Wray condemned agents who failed to respond appropriately to complaints, and promised Nassar’s victims that he was committed to “make damn sure everybody at the FBI remembers what happened here” and that it never happened again. He added that a super-visory FBI agent who had failed to investigate the Nassar case properly, and had later lied about having done so, had been sacked.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]


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