Simone Biles: "I do not want any other athlete to suffer the horror that I experienced"

American gymnast Simone Biles blamed the USA Gymnastics federation (USA Gymnastics) and an “entire system” for having “allowed” Larry Nassar, the national team doctor for 20 years, to sexually abuse her and hundreds of athletes. “I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame the entire system that allowed and perpetrated that abuse. USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee knew that he was being abused by the official team doctor,” Biles told the US Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Olympic champion also accused the FBI of having “turned its back” on the gymnasts by having responded inadequately and slowly to the first accusations of sexual abuse against Nassar, which allowed the former doctor to continue committing his abuse for months.

Biles said that “an entire system allowed and perpetrated” these abuses against her and hundreds of young people, who because of their age did not even know that Nassar was abusing them. “I don’t want any other young Olympian or any other individual to suffer the horror that I and that hundreds of others have endured and continue to endure until today,” said Biles, his voice cracking with emotion, to the point that he burst into tears, before dozens of legislators who watched her in silence.

Simone Biles, along with Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols, who were also sexually abused by Nassar / Getty Images

At the beginning of her testimony, Biles said that she could not imagine a place that would make her feel more “uncomfortable” than precisely the Senate committee room where she was located. Next to her sat three other Olympic gymnasts who suffered Nassar’s abuse: McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman.

The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to clarify why the FBI’s Indianapolis office – where the Gymnastics Federation is based – responded inappropriately to the allegations against Nassar. An internal Justice Department report in July revealed serious errors within the FBI that stalled the investigation for more than eight months. When that 119-page document was published, a group of senators announced a hearing to investigate the FBI’s response and correct institutional errors.

Nassar, who used his position as a doctor to abuse at least 330 young people, including minors and also Olympic athletes, is serving a sentence of between 40 and 175 years for those acts added to another of 60 years for child pornography, a de facto life sentence . Nassar received his sentences between December 2017 and February 2018, in trials that coincided with the outbreak of the MeToo movement.

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