Enough is enough: Simone Biles as she breaks down during gymnasts' abuse testimony

Several US gymnasts including Simone Biles have testified against former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar for the sexual abuse of her and hundreds of other women.

Published : Sep 15, 2021 22:54 IST

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles told Congress through tears Wednesday that the FBI and gymnastics officials turned a “blind eye” to USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of her and hundreds of other women.

Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee that “enough is enough” as she and three other U.S. gymnasts spoke in stark emotional terms about the lasting toll Nassar’s crimes have taken on their lives.

Biles said a message needs to be sent: "If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough.”

“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said.

READ | US gymnast Maroney says FBI betrayed her after she reported sexual abuse

She said USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee “knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge.”

The 2016 Olympic champion and a five-time world champion — widely considered to be the greatest gymnast of all time — said that she “can imagine no place that I would be less comfortable right now than sitting here in front of you."

She declared herself a survivor of sexual abuse.

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 the now-imprisoned Nassar to abuse other young gymnasts.

At least 40 girls and women said they were molested after the FBI had been made aware of the problem.

Biles was joined by two other gold medal winning gymnasts Maroney and Aly Raisman.

Raisman said it “disgusts me” that they are still looking for answers six years after the original allegations against Nassar were reported.

Biles acknowledged in January 2018 that she was among the hundreds of athletes who were abused by Nassar.

She is the only one of the witnesses who competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — held this year after a one-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic — but removed herself from the team finals to focus on her mental health.

She returned to earn a bronze medal on beam but told the committee the lingering trauma from her abuse at the hands of Nassar played a factor in her decision to opt out of several competitions.

ALSO READ | Mental health advocacy part of post-Olympic tour - Simone Biles

Nassar, charged in 2016 with federal child pornography offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan, is now serving decades in prison.

Democratic and Republican senators expressed disgust over the case and said they would continue to investigate.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said it was among the most compelling and heart-breaking testimonies he had ever heard.

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