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Simone Biles, U.S. Gymnasts Testify at Hearing over FBI's Handling of Larry Nassar

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 15, 2021

SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Simone Biles was among the gymnasts who testified Wednesday at a Senate hearing regarding the FBI's handling of the investigation into former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

MSNBC tweeted video of Biles providing an emotional opening statement on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.:

MSNBC @MSNBC

"To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse," Simone Biles gives her opening statement at a Senate hearing on the FBI's handling of the Larry Nassar investigation. <a href="https://t.co/yPJX0ejnLg">pic.twitter.com/yPJX0ejnLg</a>

The 58-year-old Nassar was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with children under the age of 16.

He was already serving a 60-year prison sentence after being convicted on child pornography charges.

Several high-profile Team USA gymnasts, including Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Kyla Ross, said Nassar sexually assaulted them while he was the USA Gymnastics national medical coordinator from 1996 to 2014.

Rebecca Shabad of NBC News reported Wednesday that the FBI fired agent Michael Langeman after a Justice Department inspector general report determined he didn't properly investigate allegations of sexual abuse against Nassar.

Per Shabad, the report stated that Langeman and his superior, Jay Abbott, did not respond to the allegations "with the urgency that the allegations required."

According to Will Graves of the Associated Press, Biles said during her statement Wednesday: "To be clear ... I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse."

Biles added: "The impacts of this man's abuse are not ever over or forgotten. ... I never should have been left alone to suffer the abuse of Larry Nassar."

The 24-year-old Biles earned worldwide prominence in 2016 when she won five medals at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Four of them were gold, including the individual all-around and team event.

Regarded by many as the greatest gymnast of all time, Biles was expected to turn in a repeat performance at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but she pulled out of the team and individual all-around events to focus on her mental health. She still won silver in the team event and bronze in the balance beam.

Biles was joined Wednesday by Raisman, Maroney and Maggie Nichols, who was the first gymnast to report Nassar's abuse to USA Gymnastics.

Maroney, 25, was part of the 2012 United States gymnastics team that won gold at the London Olympics. She also took silver in the vault.

Per Graves, Maroney said Wednesday: "Not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually did document my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said."

Maroney also said: "What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?"

Shabad noted the inspector general report determined Langeman interviewed Maroney about her allegations against Nassar in 2015, but he and Abbott lied about how they handled it and never opened an investigation. 

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