Since 2016, we have watched the USA Gymnastics Organization be under fire since details of sexually abusive instances towards gymnasts involving 18-year national team doctor, Larry Nassar, emerged to the public. An article by NBC News reported that more than 265 women made accusations against Nassar, cases that date back at least 14 years. Each one of these gymnasts had the same recounts of experiencing sexual abuse at the hands of Nassar at almost all USA Gymnastic training camps and international meets in which physical problems arose. There were allegedly multiple reports made over the years of abuse, but gymnasts are saying they were swept under the rug.
When the FBI eventually took these reports seriously, more and more were beginning to come in out of solidarity to make a case that could no longer be ignored. In 2017, charges were formally brought against Nassar on seven counts of sexual assault as well as possession of child pornography, all of which he pled guilty to. During his 2018 sentencing hearing, more than 150 victims spoke directly to Nassar, depicting exactly how his actions have affected them. Among the victims speaking out were Olympians Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Weiber. After an emotional trial, Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in federal prison where he will spend the rest of his life.
Recently, victims of Larry Nassar have turned their attention to the FBI, who they believe should also be held accountable for their part in the abuse of the gymnasts, citing an extreme mishandling of the case. Allegedly, reports of abuse were known to the FBI years before any real action was taken. Gymnasts allege the FBI never took their accounts seriously, which is why Nassar was able to keep his job for years after reports.
As of Wednesday, Sept. 15, gymnasts Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols have all testified at a Senate hearing. Maroney alleges the FBI showed no sympathy when recounting her story to them back in 2015 and that they went on to falsify her statement. Biles blames Nassar and “an entire system that allowed his abuse”. She went on to accuse the FBI of turning a blind eye to all earlier attempts to report. Raisman said the FBI made her feel like her “abuse didn’t count”. There was an overall shared sense of betrayal from the investigators and feelings of being let down.
Furthermore, the important issue they were pushing, is the fact that their lack of action put so many others at risk because he was allowed to continue to be in the position to harm young women for so long. FBI director, Christopher Wray, issued an apology to the gymnasts on behalf of the entire bureau although no charges have been brought against any of the agents directly linked to the case. However, one, Special Agent Michael Langeman, has been fired and another, Jay Abbot, has resigned. This case is still actively unfolding as gymnasts continue to speak out and we will be following it closely.