Full testimonies USA gymnasts gave before Senate Judiciary Committee


Elite USA gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman gave emotional testimony Wednesday about the FBI’s botched investigation into their allegations of sexual abuse against former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Read their opening statements before the Senate Judiciary Committee here:

Simone Biles

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story with this committee, and for bringing light to the crisis of abuse in amateur sports. Your commitment to ensuring the safety of gymnasts and all amateur athletes is appreciated, important, and necessary, to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. Please bear with me. To be perfectly honest, I can imagine no place that I would be less comfortable right now than sitting here in front of you, sharing these comments.

My name is Simone Biles, and I am a gymnast who has trained at the levels of the sport. As an elite gymnast, I have had the honor to represent the United States of America in multiple international competitions, including world championships and the Olympic games. Over the course of my gymnastics career, I have won 25 World Championship medals and seven Olympic medals for Team USA. That record means so much to me, and I am proud of my representation of this nation through gymnastics.

I am also a survivor of sexual abuse, and I believe without a doubt, that 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.

US Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles
Simone Biles ripped the USA Gymnastics Women’s Program for allowing Larry Nassar to knowingly abuse her.
Pacific Coast News / Saul Loeb – Pool via CNP

Nelson Mandela once said, “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. 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, in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse.

To be clear… Sorry. To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.

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.

In May of 2015, Rhonda Faehn, the former head of USA Gymnastics Women’s Program, was told by my friend and teammate, Maggie Nichols, that she suspected, I too, was a victim. I didn’t understand the magnitude of what all 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 US Olympic team, neither USAG, USOPC, nor the FBI ever contacted me or my parents. While others had been informed and investigations were ongoing, I had been left to wonder why I was not told until after the Rio Games.

This is the largest case of sexual abuse in the history of American sport, and although there has been a fully independent investigation of the FBI’s handling of the case, neither USAG, nor USOPC, have ever been made the subject of the same level of scrutiny.

These are the entities entrusted with the protection of our sport and our athletes, and yet, it feels like questions of responsibility and organizational failures remain unanswered.

As you pursue the answers to those questions, I ask that your work be guided by the same question that Rachael Denhollander and many’s others have asked: “How much is a little girl worth?”

I sit before you today to raise my voice so that no little girl must endure what I, the athletes at this table, and the countless others who needlessly suffered under Nassar’s guise of medical treatment, which we continue to endure today.

We suffered and continue to suffer, because no one at FBI, USAG, or the USOPC did what was necessary to protect us. We have been failed, and we deserve answers.

Nassar is where he belongs, but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable. If they are not, I am convinced that this will continue to happen to others across Olympic sports.

In reviewing the OIG’s report, it truly feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us, and went out of its way to help protect USAG and USOPC. A message needs to be sent: if you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough.

Larry Nassar faces Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina just prior to his sentencing.
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was previously sentenced to 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child-porn crimes on top of his sexual abuse crimes.
Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA

I will close with one final thought. The scars of this horrific abuse continue to live with all of us. As the lone competitor in the recent Tokyo Games, who is a survivor of this horror, I can ensure you that the impacts of this man’s abuse are not ever over or forgotten.

The announcement in the spring of 2020 that the Tokyo Games were to be postponed for a year, meant that I would be going to the gym, to training, to therapy, living daily among the reminders of this story for another 365 days.

As I have stated in the past, one thing that helped me push each and every day was the goal of not allowing this crisis to be ignored. I worked incredibly hard to make sure that my presence could maintain a connection between the failures and the competition at Tokyo 2020. That has proven to be an exceptionally difficult burden for me to carry, particularly when required to travel to Tokyo, without the support of any of my family.

I am a strong individual and I will persevere, but I never should’ve been left alone to suffer the abuse of Larry Nassar, 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.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with this committee today. I want to sincerely thank each of you for joining the survivors of this abuse to do what we all can to prevent anything like this from ever happening again. Thank you.

McKayla Maroney

Good morning. Thank you Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Grassley, and Members
of the Judiciary Committee for inviting me to speak today.

As most of you are probably aware, I was molested by the USA Gymnastics National
Team, and Olympic Team doctor, Larry Nassar. In actuality, he turned out to be more of a
pedophile than he was a doctor.

What I’m trying to bring to your attention is something incredibly disturbing and illegal. After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, not only the FBI did not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said.

United States Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney
McKayla Maroney accused the FBI of collobarating with the Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics of covering up Larry Nassar’s rampant sexual abuse.
Pacific Coast News / Graeme Jennings – Pool via CNP

After reading the Office of the Inspector General’s OIG report, I was shocked and deeply disappointed at this narrative they chose to fabricate, they chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester. Rather than protect not only me, but countless others.

My story is one in which Special Agent in Charge Jay Abbott and his subordinates did not want you to hear. And it’s time that I tell you. In the summer of 2015, like I said, I was scheduled to speak to the FBI about my abuse with Larry Nassar over the phone. I was too sick to go meet with anyone in person. And talking about this abuse would give me PTSD for days. But I chose to speak about it to try and make a difference and protect others.

I remember sitting on my bedroom floor for nearly three hours as I told them what happened to me. I hadn’t even told my own mother about these facts. But I thought as uncomfortable and as hard as it was to tell my story. I was going to make a difference, and hopefully protecting others from the same abuse. I answered all of their questions honestly and clearly. And I disclosed all of my molestations I had endured by Nassar to them in extreme detail.

They told me to start from the beginning. I told them about the sport of gymnastics how you make the national team and how I came to meet Larry Nassar when I was 13 at a Texas camp.

I told him that the first thing Larry Nassar ever said to me was to change into shorts with no underwear because that would make it easier for him to work on me. And within minutes, he had his fingers in my vagina.

The FBI then immediately asked, Did he insert his fingers into your rectum? I said no, he never did. They asked if he used gloves. I said no, he never did. They asked if this treatment ever helped me. I said no. It never did. This treatment was 100 percent abuse and never gave me any relief.

I then told the FBI about Tokyo. The day he gave me a sleeping pill for the plane ride to then work on me later that night. That evening, I was naked, completely alone with him on top of me molesting me for hours. I told them I thought I was going to die that night. Because there was no way that he would let me go. But he did.

I told them I walked the halls of Tokyo hotel at 2 a.m. At only 15 years old, I began crying at the memory over the phone, and there was just dead silence. I was so shocked at the agent’s silence and disregard for my trauma. After that minute of silence he asked, is that all?

Those words in itself was one of the worst moments of this entire process for me, to have my abuse be minimized and disregarded by the people who were supposed to protect me. Just to feel like my abuse was not enough. But the truth is my abuse was enough. And they wanted to cover it up.

USA Gymnastics in concert with the FBI and the Olympic Committee are working together to conceal that Larry Nassar was a predator. I then proceeded to tell them about London, and how he’d signed me up last on his sheet so he could molest me for hours twice a day.

I told him, I told them how he molested me right before I won my team gold medal. How he gave me presents, bought me caramel macchiatos and bread when I was hungry. I even sent them screenshots of Nassar’s last text to me, which was Michaela. I love how you see the world with rose-colored glasses. I hope you continue to do so.

This was very clear cookie-cutter pedophilia and abuse. And this is important because I told the FBI all of this, and they chose to falsify my report and to not only minimize my abuse, but silence me yet again. I thought given the severity of this situation, they would quickly for the sake of protecting other girls, but instead, it took them 14 months to report anything when Larry Nassar, in my opinion, should have been in jail that day.

The FBI, USOC and USAG sat idly by as dozens of girls and women continued to be molested by Larry Nassar.

According to the OIG report, about 14 months after I disclosed my abuse to the FBI. nearly a year and a half later, the FBI agent who interviewed me in 2015 decided to write down my statement, a statement that the OIG report determined to be materially false.

Let’s be honest, by not taking immediate action from my report, they allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year. And this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue. 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? They had legal legitimate evidence of child abuse and did nothing. If they’re not going to protect me.

I want to know who are they trying to protect? What’s even more upsetting to me is that we now we know that these FBI agents have committed an obvious crime. They falsified my statement, and that is illegal in itself. Yet no recourse has been taken against them. The Department of Justice refused to prosecute these individuals. Why? Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco couldn’t even bring herself to be here today. And it is the Department of Justice’s job to hold them accountable.

I am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing. Because my abuse was enough, and we deserve justice. These individuals clearly violated policies and were negligent in executing their duties. And in doing so more girls were abused by Larry Nassar for over a year.

To not indict these agents is a disservice to me and my teammates. It is a disservice to the system which was built to protect all of us from abuse. It was a disservice to every victim who suffered needlessly at the hands of Larry Nassar after I spoke up. Why are public servants whose job is to protect getting away with this? This is not justice. Enough is enough.

Today, I ask you all to hear my voice. I ask you please do all that is in your power to ensure that these individuals are held responsible and accountable for ignoring my initial report for lying about my initial report and for covering up for a child molester.

In closing, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the United States Senate, a very powerful institution that from the very beginning has fought for us rather than against us. Thank you, and I welcome any questions

Maggie Nichols

Chair Durbin, Ranking Member Grassley and distinguished members of the Judiciary Committee. Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today, and I want to personally thank you for your commitments to prioritizing athlete safety and holding accountable those responsible for athlete safety.

I was named as Gymnast 2 in the Office of Inspector General’s report and previously identified as Athlete A by USA Gymnastics. I want everyone to know that this did not happen to Gymnast 2 or to Athlete A. It happened to me, Maggie Nichols.

I first started gymnastics when I was three and since I was a child, I always had the dream of competing for my country in the World Championships and Olympic Games. I was an elite-level gymnast by the age of 13, and by the time I was 14, I made the National Team.

United States gymnast Maggie Nichols
Maggie Nichols said the FBI was too slow to interview her about Larry Nassar’s sexually predatory conduct.
Saul Loeb/Pool via AP

I traveled internationally for four (4) years attending competitions and in 2015 competed at the World Championships representing our country, where I won a Gold medal. My Olympic dreams ended in the summer of 2015, when my coach and I reported Larry Nassar’s abuse to USAG leadership. I went on to compete at the University of Oklahoma, where I was named First Team All-American in the all-around and all four events, and was a Two-Time National Champion.

I reported my abuse to USA Gymnastics over six years ago, and still, my family and I have received few answers, and have even more questions, about how this was allowed to occur and why dozens of other little girls and women at Michigan State had to be abused after I reported.

In sacrificing my childhood for the chance to compete for the United States, I am haunted by the fact that even after I reported my abuse, so many women and girls had to needlessly suffer at the hands of Larry Nassar. USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI have all betrayed me and those who were abused by Larry Nassar after I reported.

The cover-up of my abuse, and the FBI’s failure to interview me for more than a year after my complaint, are well documented in the OIG report. After I reported my abuse to USA Gymnastics, my family and I were told by their former President Steve Penny, to keep quiet and not say anything that could hurt the FBI investigation.

We now know there was no real FBI investigation occurring. While my complaints languished with the FBI, Larry Nassar continued to abuse women and girls. During this time, the FBI issued no search warrants, and made no arrests. From the day I reported my molestation by Nassar, I was treated differently by USAG.

Not only did the FBI fail to conduct a thorough investigation, but they also knew that USAG and the USOPC created a false narrative where Larry Nassar was allowed to retire with his reputation intact and return to Michigan State University, thus, allowing dozens of little girls to be molested.

As the Inspector General’s Report details, during this same period, FBI agents did not properly document evidence, failed to report to proper authorities, and the Special Agent in charge was seeking to become the new director of security for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee; a job opportunity raised by Steve Penny. Afterwards, FBI agents in charge of the investigation, lied to OIG investigators about what had occurred.

This conduct by these FBI agents, including the Special Agent In-Charge, who are held in high regard and expected to protect the public, is unacceptable, disgusting and shameful.

This committee produced a report in 2019 titled The Courage of Survivors-A Call to Action. It found that “the U.S. Olympic Committee and USAG, the National Governing Body designated by USOC to administer amateur gymnastics failed to adequately respond to credible allegations against Nassar.”

Similarly, the OIG report found that senior FBI officials lied to the Inspector General, engaged in serious conflicts of interest, and tried to cover up of one of the biggest child sexual abuse scandal in the history of amateur sports. Both reports uncovered serious and possibly criminal misconduct by those at the highest level of the Olympic Committee, our sport, and the FBI.

Despite these findings of serious and criminal misconduct throughout the FBI, USAG and USOPC, no accountability has occurred. An important question remains, perhaps the most important question: why?

Why would the FBI agents lie to OIG investigators? Why would the FBI not properly document evidence that was received? Why would an FBI agent be interested in the USAG presidency? These questions remain unanswered, and the survivors of Larry Nassar have a right to know why their well-being was placed in jeopardy by these individuals who chose not to do their jobs.

To-date, no one from the FBI, the USOPC or USAG has faced federal charges, other than Larry Nassar. For many hundreds of survivors of Larry Nassar, this hearing is one of our last opportunities to get justice.

We ask that you do what is in your power to ensure those that engaged in wrongdoing are held accountable under the law.

Aly Raisman

I want to begin by thanking the Judiciary Committee, including Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley, for their commitment to seeking the truth for the hundreds, if not thousands who were systematically abused by Larry Nassar, and for this Committee’s diligence to demand accountability regarding Federal Law enforcement’s misconduct.

I also want to express my gratitude to the other brave survivors here today, my friends and teammates, for sharing their stories and continuing to press for justice and reform. Over the past few years, it has become painfully clear how a survivors healing is affected by the handling of their abuse, and it disgusts me that we are still fighting for the most basic answers and accountability over six years later.

In 2015 it was known that a least six National Team athletes had been abused by Nassar. There was even a video of one athlete’s abuse. Given our abusers unfettered access to children, stopping him should have been a priority.

United States Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman
During her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, McKayla Maroney spoke about Larry Nassar’s sexually abusive behavior.
Graeme Jennings / Pool via CNP

Instead the following occurred: The FBI failed to interview pertinent parties in a timely manner. It took over 14 months for the FBI to contact me despite my multiple requests to be interviewed.

The records established that Steve Penny, FBI agent Jay Abbott and their subordinates worked to conceal Nassar’s crimes. Steve Penny arranged with the FBI to conduct my interview at the Olympic Training Center where I was under the control and observation of USAG and USOPC.

The day of my interview Steve Penny flew to the Olympic Training Center and he made sure that I was aware he was there. I felt pressured by the FBI to consent to Nassar’s plea deal. The agent diminished the significance of my abuse and made me feel my criminal case wasn’t worth pursuing.

Special agent in charge of investigating Nassar met Steve Penny for beers to discuss job opportunities in the Olympic movement. Another FBI agent worked with Steve Penny to determine jurisdiction without interviewing the survivors. I’ve watched multiple high ranking officials at USAG, USOPC, and the FBI, resign or retire without explanation of how they may have contributed to the problem, some of whom were publicly thanked for their service and rewarded with severance or bonus money.

My reports of abuse were not only buried by USAG, USOPC but they were also mishandled by Federal Law enforcement officers who failed to follow their most basic duties.

The FBI and others within both USAG and USOPC knew that Nassar molested children and did nothing to restrict his access. Steve Penny and any USAG employee could have walked a few steps to file a report with the Indiana Child Protective Services, since they shared the same building. Instead they quietly allowed Nassar to slip out the side door, knowingly allowing him to continue his “work” at MSU, Sparrow Hospital, a USAG club and even to run for school board.

Nassar found more than 100 new victims to molest. It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter.

Why did none of these organizations warn anyone? USAG and USOPC have a long history of enabling abuse by turning a blind eye. Both organizations knew of Nassar’s abuse long before it became public. Although you wouldn’t know that by reading their press releases which would have you and their corporate sponsors believe athlete safety comes first.

We have called for a fully independent factual investigation for years now, because I and these women who sit before you now know firsthand these organizations and their public statements are not to be trusted. They claim they want accountability but then seek to restrict which staff can be interviewed, which documents can be examined, and claim attorney-client privilege over and over again. The so-called investigations these organizations orchestrated were not designed to provide the answers we so critically need.

Why are we left to guess why USAG and USOPC deliberately ignored reported abuse? Was it to protect the value of its sponsorships? The LA28 bid? Their own jobs? To avoid criminal liability? Perhaps, but why must we speculate when the facts are obtainable and the stakes are so high?

Why would duly sworn Federal Law enforcement officers ignore reports of abuse by a doctor across state lines and country borders? For a future job opportunity? Or were there additional incentives and pressures? Why must we speculate when the facts are obtainable and the stakes are so high?

Just as it is naive to assume the problem rests only with Nassar, it is unrealistic to think we can grasp the full extent of culpability without understanding how and why USAG and USOPC chose to ignore abuse for decades and why the interplay among these three organizations led the FBI to willingly disregard our reports of abuse.

Without knowing who knew what when, we cannot identify all enablers or determine whether they still are in positions of power. We just can’t fix a problem we don’t understand—and we can’t understand the problem unless and until we have all the facts.

If we don’t do all we can to get these facts the problems we are here to address will persist and we are deluding ourselves if we think other children will be spared the institutionalized tolerance and normalization of abuse that I, and so many, had to endure.

I thank you for your time, your commitment and your genuine concern for those survivors who relied on the FBI to do the right thing. I welcome any questions and comments and will answer them to the best of my ability.

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