U.S. Gymnasts Testify on FBI’s Handling of Sexual Abuse Allegations


Gymnasts (from left to right) Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols after testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation. Saul Loeb/Pool via AP

Weslee Var

Standing before the U.S. Senate, McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman delivered powerful and emotional testaments regarding the FBI’s mishandling of the sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.


Taking place on September 15, 2021, the elite gymnasts sat at a witness table as they explained to a Senate committee the pain and struggles they endured at the hands of Nassar and how he had been able to continue his profession after the FBI mishandled the complaints first made by Maroney in 2015. 


Maroney recalled sitting on her bedroom floor in 2015 and recounting her abuse to an F.B.I. agent during a three-hour phone call. She said that she was met with silence as she described what Nassar had done to her, and when she was finished, the F.B.I. agent asked, “Is that all?” The lack of empathy crushed her, she stated.  


“Not only did the F.B.I. not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said,” Maroney testified. “They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me but countless others.”


Biles tearfully said she blames Nassar and also “an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” including USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.


Special Agent Michael Langeman, who interviewed Maroney in 2015, was fired by the F.B.I. just two weeks before the public hearing stated F.B.I. Director Christopher A. Wray. Wray also acknowledged the agency’s mishandling of the case and apologized to the victims. 


As a result of the Nassar case, the F.B.I. has strengthened its policies, procedures, systems, and training stated Wray. He emphasized that agents will be taught to report abuse cases to law enforcement immediately, and promised that steps in future investigations would be “quadruple checked” so that there will not be “a single point of failure.”