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FBI facing a true scandal: Gymnast Biles says they turned a ’blind eye’ to sexual abuse

Gymnast Simone Biles teared up as she remembered her abuse from Nasser

… Nasser poster child of government, Big Ten sexual abuse

Over that past five years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been charged with a number of faux scandals. However, now two of them are taking root, and one of those was on display on Wednesday.

The center piece of this is one of the most horrific figures in athletics history — and that is saying a great deal. Larry Nasser abused hundreds of young gymnast as a trainer for the USA Gymnastics program and for Michigan State University.

A hearing before Congress captured in stark emotional terms the damage that this creep inflicted on so many young women.

Simone Biles

One of the greatest young female gymnasts in recent history testified before the United States Senate about the damage done by Nasser,

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles told Congress through tears Wednesday that the FBI and gymnastics officials turned a "blind eye" to USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of her and hundreds of other women.

Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee that "enough is enough" as she and three other U.S. gymnasts spoke in stark emotional terms about the lasting toll Nassar's crimes have taken on their lives.

The 2016 Olympic champion and a five-time world champion — widely considered to be the greatest gymnast of all time — said that she "can imagine no place that I would be less comfortable right now than sitting here in front of you." She declared herself a survivor of sexual abuse.

"I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse," Biles said. She said USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee "knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge."

Mary Clare Janonick, Will Graves, Michael Balsamo, “Biles: FBI turned ‘blind eye’ to reports of gymnasts’ abuse,” Associated Press, September 5, 2021

Gripping testimony

The testimony of another gymnast was brutal, saying that she thought that she would die the night that Nasser attacked her,

McKayla Maroney, another gold medal winning gymnast, told senators that one night when she was 15 years old, she found the doctor on top of her while she was naked — one of many times she was abused. She said she thought she was going to die that evening.

Maroney said the FBI "minimized and disregarded" her after she reported Nassar and said the agency delayed the investigation as other gymnasts were abused.

"I think for so long all of us questioned, just because someone else wasn't fully validating us, that we doubted what happened to us," Maroney said. "And I think that makes the healing process take longer."

Biles and Maroney were joined by Aly Raisman, another Olympic gold medalist, and gymnast Maggie Nichols. Raisman said it "disgusts me" that they are still looking for answers six years after the original allegations against Nassar were reported.

Mary Clare Janonick, Will Graves, Michael Balsamo, AP, September 5, 2021

How the FBI failed

The report issued by the Justice Department has resulted in the firing of an FBI agent, but the Inspector General’s report was scathing,

[Justice Department Inspector General Michael] Horowitz's probe was spurred by allegations that the FBI failed to promptly address complaints made in 2015 against Nassar. USA Gymnastics had conducted its own internal investigation and the organization's then-president, Stephen Penny, reported the allegations to the FBI's field office in Indianapolis. But it was months before the bureau opened a formal investigation.

The inspector general's office found that "despite the extraordinarily serious nature" of the claims against Nassar, FBI officials in Indianapolis did not respond with the "utmost seriousness and urgency that the allegations deserved and required."

When they did respond, the report said, FBI officials made "numerous and fundamental errors" and violated bureau policies. Among the missteps was a failure to conduct any investigative activity until more than a month after a meeting with USA Gymnastics.

The watchdog investigation also found that when the FBI's Indianapolis field office's handling of the matter came under scrutiny, officials there did not take any responsibility for the missteps and gave incomplete and inaccurate information to internal FBI inquiries to make it look like they had been diligent in their investigation.

The FBI rebuked its own employees who failed to act in the case and said it "should not have happened."

The report also detailed that while the FBI was investigating the Nassar allegations, the head of the FBI's field office in Indianapolis, W. Jay Abbott, was talking to Penny about getting a job with the Olympic Committee. He applied for the job but didn't get it and later retired from the FBI, the report said.

Mary Clare Janonick, Will Graves, Michael Balsamo, AP, September 5, 2021

More on this about the FBI director’s testimony and another scandal that will likely cost the Trump appointee his job.

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