Aly Raisman Testifies Earlier than Congress On USA Gymnastics Sexual Abuse Scandal; ‘I Felt Pressured By The FBI’


WASHINGTON (CBS/CNN) —  Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKalya Maroney ripped the FBI and the Justice Division in Senate testimony Wednesday for the way FBI brokers mishandled abuse allegations introduced towards Larry Nassar after which made false statements within the fallout from the botched investigation.

Maroney, Biles, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman have been assaulted by Nassar, the previous USA Gymnastics crew physician who’s now serving a several-decade jail sentence.

“It actually feels just like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its method to assist defend” USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Biles testified whereas holding again tears.

Raisman, a Needham native, known as for extra investigation into how the Nassar probe was mishandled and mentioned that the FBI pressured her to just accept Nassar’s plea deal.

“The agent diminished the importance of my abuse. It made me really feel my felony case wasn’t price pursuing,” Raisman mentioned.

Allegations into Nassar have been first delivered to the company in July 2015. A number of violations of protocols led to months of delay, as captured in a scathing Justice Division inspector normal report launched in July.

Whereas the federal investigation languished, Nassar abused scores of victims, the inspector normal report mentioned.

FBI officers “failed to reply to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required, made quite a few and basic errors after they did reply to them, and violated a number of FBI insurance policies,” the report said.

Learn Raisman’s total opening assertion earlier than Congress under:

I need to start by thanking the Judiciary Committee, together with Chairman Durbin and Rating Member Grassley, for his or her dedication to looking for the reality for the lots of, if not hundreds who have been systematically abused by Larry Nassar, and for this Committee’s diligence to demand accountability relating to Federal Legislation enforcement’s misconduct.

I additionally need to categorical my gratitude to the opposite courageous survivors right here as we speak, my associates and teammates, for sharing their tales and persevering with to press for justice and reform. Over the previous few years, it has change into painfully clear how a survivor’s therapeutic is affected by the dealing with of their abuse, and it disgusts me that we’re nonetheless preventing for probably the most fundamental solutions and accountability over six years later.

In 2015 it was identified {that a} least six Nationwide Workforce athletes had been abused by Nassar. There was even a video of 1 athlete’s abuse. Given our abusers unfettered entry to kids, stopping him ought to have been a precedence.

As an alternative the next occurred…
• The FBI didn’t interview pertinent events in a well timed method. It took over 14 months for the FBI to contact me regardless of my many requests to be interviewed by them.
• The information established that Steve Penny, FBI agent Jay Abbott and their subordinates labored to hide Nassar’s crimes.
• Steve Penny organized with the FBI to conduct my interview on the Olympic Coaching Heart the place I used to be beneath the management and remark of USAG and USOPC. The day of my interview Steve Penny flew to the Olympic Coaching Heart and made certain I used to be conscious he was there.
• I felt pressured by the FBI to consent to Nassar’s plea deal. The agent diminished the importance of my abuse and made me really feel my felony case wasn’t price pursuing.
• Particular agent accountable for investigating Nassar met Steve Penny for beers to debate job alternatives within the Olympic motion.
• One other FBI agent labored with Steve Penny to find out jurisdiction with out interviewing the survivors.
• I’ve watched a number of excessive rating officers at USAG, USOPC, and the FBI, resign or “retire” with out clarification of how they might have contributed to the issue, a few of whom have been publicly thanked for his or her service and rewarded with severance or bonus cash.

My experiences of abuse weren’t solely buried by USAG and USOPC however they have been additionally mishandled by Federal Legislation enforcement officers who didn’t comply with their most elementary duties. The FBI and others inside each USAG and USOPC knew that Nassar molested kids and did nothing to limit his entry. Steve Penny and any USAG worker might have walked a couple of steps to file a report with Indiana Baby Protecting Companies, since they shared the identical constructing.

As an alternative they quietly allowed Nassar to slide out the aspect door, knowingly permitting him to proceed his “work” at MSU, Sparrow Hospital, a USAG membership, and even to run for varsity board. Nassar discovered greater than 100 new victims to molest. It was like serving harmless kids as much as a pedophile on a silver platter.

Why did none of those organizations warn anybody? USAG and USOPC have an extended historical past of enabling abuse by turning a blind eye. Each organizations knew of Nassar’s abuse lengthy earlier than it turned public, though you wouldn’t know that by studying their press releases which might have you ever (and their company sponsors) consider that athlete security comes first. We now have known as for a totally unbiased factual investigation for years now, as a result of I and these ladies who sit earlier than you now know firsthand these organizations and their public statements are to not be trusted. They declare they need accountability however then search to limit which employees could be interviewed, which paperwork could be examined, and declare legal professional consumer privilege over and over. The so-called investigations these organizations orchestrated weren’t designed to offer the solutions we so critically want.

Why are we left to guess why USAG and USOPC intentionally ignored reported abuse? Was it to guard the worth of the sponsorships? The LA28 bid? Their very own jobs? To keep away from felony legal responsibility? Maybe, however why should we speculate when the information are obtainable and the stakes are so excessive?

Why would duly sworn Federal Legislation enforcement officers ignore experiences of abuse by a physician throughout state strains and nation borders? For a future job alternative? Or have been there extra incentives and pressures? Why should we speculate when the information are obtainable and the stakes are so excessive?

Simply as it’s naive to imagine the issue rests solely with Nassar, it’s unrealistic to assume we will grasp the complete extent of culpability with out understanding how and why USAG and USOPC selected to disregard abuse for many years and why the interaction amongst these three organizations led the FBI to willingly disregard our experiences of abuse. With out understanding who knew what when, we can’t determine all enablers or decide whether or not they nonetheless are in positions of energy. We simply can’t repair an issue we don’t perceive—and we will’t perceive the issue until and till we’ve got all of the information. If we don’t do all we will to get these information the issues we’re right here to deal with will persist and we’re deluding
ourselves if we expect different kids could be spared the institutionalized tolerance and normalization of abuse that I, and so many needed to endure.

I thanks in your time, your dedication and your real concern for these survivors who relied on the FBI to do the suitable factor. I welcome any questions and feedback and can reply them to the very best of my capability.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN’s Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.)





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