Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney were two of the members of the U.S. national gymnastics team who testified before Congress Wednesday about the alleged abuse they suffered at the hands of USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Biles, the multiple gold medal winner, told the lawmakers that she blamed the entire USA Olympics organization as well as the FBI officials for failing to protect them from a child predator, despite multiple warnings.
Biles is considered the world’s top gymnast and was a heavy favorite at this summer’s Tokyo Games. But she withdrew from most events as a result of severe mental stress, which she alluded to in her testimony before Congress. “The scars of this horrific abuse continue to live with all of us,” she said. “The impacts of this man’s abuse are not ever over or forgotten.”
McKayla Maroney, part of the gold medal winning Team USA at the 2012 Olympics, also shared her heart wrenching torment Nassar put her through, and testified about how he molested her just before she won the gold medal. She also pointed out that she had told all of this to federal agents.
“I told the FBI all of this, and they chose to falsify my report, and to not only minimize my abuse but silence me yet again. It took them 14 months to report anything, when Larry Nassar — in my opinion — should have been in jail that day.”McKayla Maroney
The FBI’s mishandling of the Nassar case is well documented. A DOJ Inspector General’s report found numerous violations of policy, and said the bureau’s bungling of the case likely allowed Nassar to target more victims.
The lead agent in the FBI’s Indianapolis, Michael Langeman, was reportedly fired two weeks ago as a result of the IG report, which determined Langeman and his supervisor lied to investigators about how they handled the Nassar allegations. It was Langeman who interviewed Maroney in 2015 about her allegations against Nassar, and allegedly did not even write a report for 17 months.
From the Washington Post:
Opening the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said the Nassar case represents a litany of failures by those entrusted to protect athletes.
“The FBI’s handling of the Nassar case is a stain on the bureau,” he said, calling the Nassar case “a shocking picture of FBI dereliction of duty and gross incompetence.”
Durbin also criticized the Justice Department for not sending officials to the hearing to explain why they decided not to prosecute either of the FBI agents who the inspector general concluded had lied about their work on the Nassar case.
FBI director Christopher A. Wray, who took over the bureau after the FBI’s decision making in the Nassar case took place, testified at today’s hearing. He began by offering an apology for the way the FBI mishandled the investigation, and said changes were forthcoming.
CNN analyst and former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa put forth in a Twitter thread that there are many questions that the Bureau still must answer, including why former agent Langeman wasn’t prosecuted for perjury.
The FBI agent who took this interview didn’t document it until 17 months later, made false assertions therein, failed to transfer case to Detroit, failed to alert local law enforcement, then lied to OIG about all of this. He just got fired 2/— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 15, 2021
There is also this stunning bit of information regarding Langeman’s supervisor in Indianapolis.
The Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of Indianapolis was found by OIG to be actively seeking a job with USA Gymnastics (the entity which reported Nasser) while investigation was ongoing. Later lied to media and the OIG. He is retired and presumably still collecting pension 3/— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 15, 2021
The full Inspector General report on the FBI’s mistakes involving the Nassar probe is here.