Simone Biles Says Multiple Institutions 'Failed' To Protect Her In Handling Of Larry Nassar Case During Emotional Testimony To Congress
Biles said although she has received much success, she's still a “survivor of sexual abuse.”
September 15, 2021 at 5:58 pm
Update (Sept. 15, 2021): Olympian Simone Biles was overwhelmed with emotion on Wednesday when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about the investigation into Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor accused of sexually assaulting more than 300 women.
Fighting through tears, the gold medalist said she blames Nassar and the system that allowed him to “perpetuate his abuse,” The Guardian reports.
"If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe," she said in a video shared by Mediaite. “The circumstances that led to my abuse and allowed it to continue are directly the result of the fact that the organizations 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.”
She then proceeded to quote Nelson Mandela, saying, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. It is the power of that statement that compels and empowers me to be here in front of you today.”
Simone Biles delivered an emotional testimony during the Senate hearing on the FBI's Larry Nassar investigation, saying that she doesn't want anyone else "to experience the horror" that she "and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day." pic.twitter.com/Sqrq7Lrv5g— Mediaite (@Mediaite) September 15, 2021
The star gymnast, who is regarded as the most high-profile survivor involved in the case, spoke on behalf of all other survivors.
“I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day,” Biles said.
The star athlete highlighted some of the accolades she has received in her career, but also reminded the public that she is a “survivor of sexual abuse.”
“I am a strong individual and I will persevere, but I never should have been left alone to suffer the abuse of Larry Nassar,” she said. “And the only reason I did was because of the failures that lie at the heart of the abuse that you are now asked to investigate.”
The 24-year-old said she didn’t understand the magnitude of what was happening until the Indianapolis Star published its article in the fall of 2016, entitled “Former USA gymnastics doctor accused of abuse.”
“Yet, while I was a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, neither USAG, USOPC, nor the FBI ever contacted me or my parents, while others have been informed and investigations were ongoing, I had been left to wonder why I was not told until after the Rio Games,” the athlete said.
Original (Sept. 14, 2021): Gold medalist Simone Biles and other gymnasts are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the investigation into Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor convicted of sexually assaulting women and girls.
NBC News reports Biles, along with McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman, will appear on the first panel during a Sept. 15 hearing on the FBI's handling of the investigation into Nassar.
In July, a 119-page report accused the FBI's Indianapolis office of making "fundamental errors" in the Nassar case. Officials were said to have failed to act with urgency or reach out to other law enforcement agencies for assistance in the investigation.
In January 2018, Biles revealed she was among the many women and girls to survive Nassar's abuse.
"I am not afraid to tell my story anymore. I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar," the 24-year-old tweeted.
In August, the ESPY winner told Today that Nassar's abuse continues to haunt her.
"Now that I think about it, maybe in the back of my head, probably, yes, because there are certain triggers," the Ohio native shared. "You don't even know, and I think it could have."
"But I knew that still being the face of gymnastics and the USA and everything we brought, it's not going to be buried under the rug, and it will still be a very big conversation," Biles added.
"So we still have to protect those athletes and figure out why it happened, who knew what when," Biles continued.
Nassar is serving up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing 10 minors in a Michigan court in January 2018.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray will be appearing on the second panel.