Olympic gymnast Simon Byles held back tears Wednesday as he told lawmakers how the FBI and U.S. gymnastics and Olympic authorities failed to stop the sexual abuse he and hundreds of other athletes used by former Dr. Larry Nasser. Encountered
“To be clear, I blame Larry Nasser and I also blame the whole system for activating and perpetrating the abuse.”
The emotional hearing painted an embarrassing picture for the FBI, which so badly affected Nasser’s investigation that he continued to abuse victims for more than a year before he was finally arrested.
FBI Director Chris Ware offered no excuses and said the bureau fired one of the agents who misrepresented details of Maroni’s 2015 interview about the abuse.
“Nothing on this planet has happened in this case,” he said.
With anger in her voice, Maroni recalls how she spent three hours on the phone in 2015 telling the FBI details of a story her mother hadn’t even heard, including rape. Accounts that he endured during the Olympic Games in London. , Which he called “more pedophile than doctor.”
Nasir, who is also a former Michigan State University employee, has been convicted in three separate cases, one of which carries a sentence of 175 years.
It wasn’t until July of this year, however, that the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed in a gruesome report what the FBI actually did with the information it provided.
It failed to document him for a year and a half, and he misrepresented what he had told them about his experiences.
“Not only did the FBI not report the abuse to me, but when they documented my report 17 months later, they made completely false claims about me,” Maroni said.
Wednesday’s hearing follows a July release by Inspector General of Justice Michael Harrowitz. Terrible report He criticized the FBI for obstructing its investigation into the allegations, which was allowed to continue for months.
Many gymnasts said they were angry that the FBI failed to interview them immediately after they reported the abuse.
Once the FBI finally contacted him, he said agents tried to reduce the severity of the abuse.
“I remember sitting with the FBI agent and he was trying to convince me it wasn’t that bad,” Raceman said.
“It took me many years to realize that my abuse was bad, it didn’t matter.”
Harowitz, who also testified, said the now-fired agent who falsified Maroni’s statement “could have actually jeopardized the criminal investigation by providing false information, which would have strengthened Nasser’s defense.” Could. “
The FBI declined to name the sacked agent, but Senator Richard Blumenthal identified him as Michael Langman.
Langman served as a supervisory special agent at Indianapolis, where he led a task force investigating child sexual abuse, according to an interview he gave to a local podcast in 2018. ۔
Reuters could not immediately be reached for comment.
The FBI’s investigation into Nasir began in July 2015, with Stephen Penny, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, reporting the allegations to the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office.
The office, then led by WJ Abbott’s special agent in charge, did not formally open the investigation.
The FBI interviewed only one witness – Maroni – several months later, in September 2015. She failed to formally document the interview in an official report known as “302” until February 2017 – the FBI arrested Nasir in December 2016 after arresting him for having sex. Clear images
Abbott, who retired from the FBI in 2018, also violated the FBI’s conflict of interest policy while discussing a possible job with the US Olympic Committee while he was involved in Nasser’s investigation.
As the FBI delayed its investigation, Nasir abused more victims. During a hearing Wednesday, Senator Richard Blumenthal asked the four players if they knew about the victims who were abused after the FBI’s revelations in July 2015.
“Yes,” said the four of them.
Neither Abbott nor Lingman were prosecuted.
Wari said the case was twice presented to a possible prosecution and was dismissed, but it postponed the federal prosecution to clarify his argument.
“We have failed and we deserve answers,” Byles said.
Meanwhile, Raeesman expressed frustration that nothing more had been done. Investigate USA Gymnastics Or the US Olympic and Paralympic Committees to cover up years of abuse of Nasser.
“Why didn’t any of these organizations warn anyone? The USAG and the USOPC have a long history of blindly activating abuse. Both organizations are aware of the abuse of Nasser.” Were, long before it came to light.
In a statement, the USOPC said it was fully committed to the safety and well-being of its players, and that it had implemented reforms after hiring a law firm for an independent firm. ۔
USA Gymnastics did not immediately respond to requests for comment.