Olympic gold medalist and Needham native Aly Raisman said Wednesday she was disgusted by the handling of her case against former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was accused of sexually abusing more than 100 women and girls and in 2018 was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
Raisman and fellow Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles were among several high-profile gymnasts to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the FBI’s handling of the Nassar investigation.
Raisman said the FBI “failed to follow their basic duties” and “worked to conceal” Nassar’s abuse. She called for a thorough investigation into the failings of the FBI, USA Gymnastics, and the US Olympic Committee.
“It disgusts me,” she said.
The hearing is part of a congressional effort to hold the FBI accountable after multiple missteps in investigating the case, including the delays that allowed Nassar to abuse additional young gymnasts.
“It took over 14 months for the FBI to contact me despite my many requests to be interviewed by them,” Raisman said, adding that delays in the investigation left Nassar with “unfettered” access to children.
She told the members of the committee that she felt pressured to accept Nassar’s plea deal and that the FBI did not take her claims seriously.
“The agent diminished the significance of my abuse and made me feel my criminal case wasn’t worth pursuing,” she said.
An internal investigation by the Justice Department released in July said that the FBI made fundamental errors in the probe and did not treat the case with the “utmost seriousness” after USA Gymnastics first reported the allegations to the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis in 2015.
The FBI has acknowledged its own conduct was inexcusable as at least 40 girls and women said they were molested while the FBI was aware of the problem.
Biles, who competed in the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer, told the committee in emotional testimony that she blames both Nassar and those who enabled him for her sexual abuse.
“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said through tears in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She said USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee “knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge.”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.