US gymnasts 'betrayed' over botched sex abuse probe - RTHK
A A A
Temperature Humidity
News Archive Can search within past 12 months

US gymnasts 'betrayed' over botched sex abuse probe

2021-09-16 HKT 00:49
Share this story facebook
  • Gymnasts Maggie Nichols, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman arrive to testify at the US Senate hearing. Photo: AP
    Gymnasts Maggie Nichols, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman arrive to testify at the US Senate hearing. Photo: AP
Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney on Wednesday told US lawmakers she feels betrayed by FBI agents, after they failed to investigate former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, despite her telling them he had sexually abused her.

FBI Director Chris Wray told the Senate panel that the actions of the agents who botched the investigation are inexcusable, and he announced that one of the agents "no longer works for the bureau in any capacity".

"I'm deeply and profoundly sorry," Wray said.

Maroney is one of four athletes, along with Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, who testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee as it probes the FBI's mishandling of the investigation.

Maroney recalled how in 2015 she spent three hours on the phone telling the FBI the details of her story that her own mother had not even heard, including accounts of sexual abuse she endured during the Olympic games in London by Nassar, whom she described as "more of a pedophile" than he was a doctor.

It was not until July of this year, however, that she said the Justice Department inspector general revealed in a scathing report what the FBI actually did with the information she provided: Failing to document it for a year and a half, and misrepresenting what she told them about her experiences.

"Not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said," Maroney said, with anger in her voice.

Wednesday's hearing comes after the Justice Department's Inspector General Michael Horowitz in July issued a scathing report in a series of errors that allowed the abuse to continue for months.

Several of the gymnasts said they were furious that the FBI failed to immediately interview them about the abuse after they had reported it. Once the FBI finally did contact them, they said the agents tried to downplay the severity of the abuse.

"I remember sitting with the FBI agent and him trying to convince me that it wasn't that bad," Raisman said. "It's taken me years of therapy to realise that my abuse was bad, that it does matter." (Reuters)