The four-time gold medal-winning gymnastics star told the US Senate she ‘blames an entire system that enabled and perpetrated’ Nassar’s crimes
Simone Biles was one of four American gymnasts to speak out about the abuse they suffered and witnessed from convicted sexual abuser Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor.
The 24-year-old broke down in tears as she detailed the abuse she received, as part of an inquiry into the FBI’s handling of the investigation after more than 300 women came forward to accuse Nassar.
The disgraced former coach is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after separate federal and state convictions, with an earliest possible release date of January 30, 2108.
But a Senate committee is investigating alleged shortcomings into how the FBI dealt with the case, after a report published in July found the agency had been slow to respond and that two officials had attempted to cover up their mistakes by lying in interviews.
Biles, alongside fellow gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols, slammed the FBI and its investigation.
She told the Senate: “The organisations created by Congress to oversee and protect me as an athlete, USA Gymnastics, and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, failed to do their jobs.
“I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others endured.
“I blame Larry Nasser, and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.
“If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe.”
Maroney reported abuse at the hands of Nassar at the London 2012 Olympics, but said the bureau did not properly investigate her claims.
“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 told the Senate.
SIPA USA/PA Images)
Maroney continued: “They chose to fabricate, to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester.
“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?”
Two FBI officials from the field office in Indianapolis, which was found by the July report to have bungled its handling of the allegations, lied to cover up their mistakes.
FBI director Christopher Wray was also at the hearing, and apologised to the quartet for the errors made when handling their cases.
He said one of the officials had been fired, while the other had already retired from the agency and so could not be disciplined.
Wray pledged to never allow such “reprehensible conduct” in the investigation of a case to happen again.