The United States Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from US Olympian gymnasts on FBI’s alleged mishandling of sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney told lawmakers on Wednesday that she felt betrayed by FBI agents for failing to seriously investigate former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser when he sexually assaulted her, according to a Reuters report.
McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Maggi Nichols testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee as it investigates FBI’s alleged mishandling of the investigation. During her testimony before the committee, Maroney recalled how she spent hours on the phone telling FBI officials details of her story in 2015 even before she told her mother about the sexual abuse she had faced during the London Olympics.
"We have been failed and we deserve answers," Olympian Simone Biles told the Senate judiciary committee.
Maroney said that it was only in July this year that the Justice Department unveiled a report on what the FBI did based on the information they had obtained from her. “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,” McKayla Maroney told the committee.
Wednesday’s hearing follows Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz releasing a report on July which blasted the FBI for ‘botching’ its investigation that apparently allowed the sexual abuse to continue for months. Horowitz too is expected to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The FBI’s investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Larry Nasser began in 2015, after the USA Gymnastics President and CEO Stephen Penny reported the allegations to the bureau’s Indianapolis field office.
The FBI field office, led by Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott at the time, did not formally initiate an investigation. The bureau interviewed one of the witnesses months after the complained was lodged and even failed to formally document the interview in an official report well after the FBI arrested Larry Nassar on charges of possessing sexually explicit pictures of children.