Live Updates: Simone Biles, Aly Raisman Among Gymnasts Sharing Larry Nassar Abuse Stories with Congress

Live Updates

Four of Team USA's most decorated gymnasts testified today in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee over the FBI's mishandling of the investigation into sexual abuse claims against the team's former doctor Larry Nassar.

Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nicholas and Aly Raisman shared emotional accounts of their abuse and the physical and mental toll it has taken on them. They also highlighted how FBI agents "turned a blind eye" to abuse allegations. Nassar was convicted in January 2018 of abusing 10 minors and is currently serving a 175-year prison sentence.

"To be clear I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame the entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse," Simone Biles said.

The athletes expressed their outrage with the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympics Committee and demanded accountability is taken.

"Just as it is naive to assume the problem only rests with Nassar, it is unrealistic to think we can grasp the full extent of culpability without understanding how and why USAG and USOPC chose to ignore abuse for decades," Aly Raisman said.

McKayla Maroney detailed how an FBI agent made false claims about what she said during her initial report of her abuse.

"They had legal, legitimate evidence of child abuse, and did nothing," she said. "If they aren't going to protect me, who are they trying to protect?"

The hearing comes after an independent report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz was published in July detailing how at least two FBI agents in the Indianapolis field office failed to properly investigate the abuse allegations.

The report detailed how the FBI's Indianapolis office did not respond "with the urgency that the allegations required" and criticized agents for making "fundamental errors" once they began investigating, which allowed Nassar to continue abusing young athletes.

Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray also testified in front of the Committee.

Wray apologized for the inaction of the former FBI employees in their failure to protect victims and outlined the initiative the bureau is taking to ensure a failure of this magnitude never happens again.

"I don't have a good explanation for you," he said. "It is totally inconsistent with the hundreds who work these kinds of cases every day. This is why that individual was fired."

Michael Langeman, the FBI agent who interviewed Maroney in 2015 and did not follow up with an investigation, was fired two weeks ago, Wray said. However, neither Wray nor Horowitz could say whether he will face criminal charges.

The live updates for this blog have ended.

Testimony Nassar Case
(L-R)US Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman(R),and gymnast Maggie Nichols(2ndR), testify during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI handling of the Larry Nassar investigation of sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts, on Capitol Hill, September 15, 2021, in Washington, DC. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Abuse survivor Jessica Howard outlines actions she wants to see to get justice

During the press conference following the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the FBI mishandling of the Larry Nassar abuse investigation, abuse survivor Jessica Howard outlined what justice would look like for her.

She said she wants indictments for those who were accessories to mass child sexual abuse and wants to see people be arrested.

"If nobody arrested," she said, "I don't know what today was for. I believe those things will begin to happen."

DOJ sent a message they "don't care about child abuse," Raisman said

Aly Raisman expressed her disappointment that the U.S. Attorney General did not show up to today's Senate hearing.

By not showing up, she said the Justice Department sent a message that child abuse doesn't matter to them.

"They think what happened to us wasn't bad enough" to come, she said. "It's unacceptable."

Senator Blumenthal said that during the hearing, he heard testimony that FBI offices and agents didn't take abuse claims seriously.

"The perception may well be that the DOJ doesn't take this issue seriously," he said.

Senator Blumenthal says FBI enabled abuse

Senator Richard Blumenthal said the FBI became "an enabler rather than an enforcer."

"We've all run out of adjectives to describe the monstrous, horrific, predatory, criminal conduct of Larry Nassar," he said. "We've run out of adjectives, but we haven't run out of action. That's what the gymnasts deserve. The criminal conduct by Larry Nassar unfortunately was not unique to him, and it was not unique to gymnastics. It was enabled by others, and others have been enabled in this kind of predatory conduct."

The FBI became an enabler rather than an enforcer," he said. "The FBI became part of the problem, not the solution. And I have strongly called for continuing criminal investigation, if necessary, under new jurisdictional issues, because I think justice will be done only if there is accountability here."

He added that the survivors deserve action.

"We've all run out of adjectives to describe the monstrous, horrific, predatory, criminal conduct of Larry Nassar," he added. "We've run out of adjectives, but we haven't run out of action. That's what the gymnasts deserve.

Senators and survivors hold press briefing following Senate hearing

Senators Blumenthal and Grassley hold a press briefing along with abuse survivors Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols, Kaylee Lorincz and Jessica Howard.

Sen. Blumenthal and Sen. Grassley thank the Olympic gymnasts who bravely testified this morning.

Kaylee Lorincz joins Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols.

“Where is the accountability?” Katie asks tearfully. pic.twitter.com/9ydy8XiFny

— Julie Tsirkin (@JulieNBCNews) September 15, 2021

DOJ Inspector General Horowitz expresses need to clarify criminal ethics statute

DOJ Inspector General Horowitz clarified that the interaction between FBI agent Jay Abbott and USA Gymnastics then-President Steve Penny did not technically violate the US Code 18 Section 208 criminal ethic statute.

Horowitz said Abbott was inquiring about a job opening with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the statute does not apply because the job was with a different agency from the one Penny ran.

Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) inquired about criminal charges that DOJ could levy against Abbott and Penny.

Abbott and Penny had this conversation during the time when Abbott was supposed to be investigating the abuse claims against USAG doctor Larry Nassar.

Horowitz said that the statute needs to be clarified and expressed his willingness to work on it further.

Director Wray says FBI is committed to "learn from our mistakes"

Director Wray said he knows the FBI will have to "earn back" the trust of the American people that they can effectively investigate abuse claims.

"I wish I could wave a magic wand and erase what happened in 2015 and 16," he said.

He said the FBI has made "some real mistakes" in its long history, but the important thing is "not that we don't fail, but that we learn from our failures."

"The best thing I can do as director now is use their [the athletes who testified earlier today] pain constructively," he said, and continue to implement the changes they have made.

Senator Blumenthal presses Horowitz to demand FBI agents who lied are prosecuted

Senator Blumenthal pressed IG Horowitz on why he is not demanding the U.S. Attorney General criminally prosecutes Jay Abbott and Michael Langeman after Horowitz's report found they lied during the investigation into the Nassar case.

"If I were you I would be walking across the street to the Attorney General's office and I would be saying 'You need to prosecute.' Why aren't you doing that?'" Blumenthal said.

He noted that Abbott also spoke with former USA Gymnastics President Stephen Penny about a potential job opportunity with the U.S. Olympic Committee while continuing to participate in bureau discussions regarding the Nassar investigation.

FBI, DOJ did not say if agent Langeman will be criminally prosecuted

FBI Director Wray said the bureau waited to fire Michael Langeman, the FBI agent who interviewed Maroney in 2015 and did not follow up with an investigation, until the DOJ Inspector General's report was completed.

He said the "disciplinary process is already completed" when he was fired but did say if Langeman is being brought up on criminal charges.

Inspector General Horowitz said the Department has not made a formal recommendation to prosecute Langeman.

FBI ramps up sensitivity measures when interviewing abuse victims, Wray says

Director Wray said the FBI has stepped up sensitivity training when interviewing abuse victims.

He said this includes the presence of Child Adolescent Forensic Interviewers (CAFI) when victims are interviewed.

This question from Senator Leahy comes after several athletes testified earlier in the hearing that they were interviewed about their abuse claims without lawyers of parents present.

Wray added that agents handling these cases are now required to document that they reported the case and confirm it to their supervisor.

There is also mandatory sensitivity training for all FBI employees.

Director Wray says he has "no good explanation" FBI mishandling of abuse claims

Senator Durbin asked Director Wray how the FBI allowed this failure to happen.

Wray said he shares in the "bewilderment" and "outrage."

"I don't have a good explanation for you," he said. "It is totally inconsistent with the hundreds who work these kinds of cases every day. This is why that individual was fired."

He added that the FBI has accepted every one of Inspector Horowitz's recommendations to strengthening training, systems, double-triple checks, safe guards, oversight "to make sure we cannot have a single point of failure."

"That is inexcusable. It never should have happened and we're doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again," Wray said.

DOJ Inspector General Horowitz confirms FBI agent misreported McKayla Maroney's abuse claim

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirms what McKayla Maroney testified to earlier today about FBI agents inaccurately reporting what she told them.

Horowitz said the false statement created by the FBI agent after his interview with Maroney "could have actually jeopardized the criminal investigations by including false information that could have bolstered Nassar's defense."

He adds that former FBI special agent in charge in Indianapolis Abbott also gave false information.

Horowitz said that in the fall of 2015, Abbott met with the USA Gymnastics chief about a job offer working on the Olympics. Horowitz noted this violated clear conflict of interest.

FBI Director Christopher Wray says actions of agents who ignored abuse claims is "unacceptable"

FBI Director Christopher Wray gives his opening statement in front of the Senate Justice Committee.

"I want to be crystal clear: The actions and inaction of the FBI employees detailed in this report are totally unacceptable," he said. "These individuals betrayed the core duty that they have of protecting people. They failed to protect young women and girls from abuse."

He said he was "heartsick and furious" to learn about the failure of the FBI handling of the case.

"When I received the Inspector General's report and saw that the Supervisory Special Agent in Indianapolis had failed to cary out even the most basic parts of the job," he said. "I can now tell you that individual no longer works for the FBI in any capacity."

The first panel is excused after gymnasts shared their testimonies of abuse

The first panel has been excused by Committee Chair Durbin.

Biles, Maroney, Nichols and Raisman thanked the Committee and embraced each other.

Several Senators went up to the women as they were leaving the room to thank them for their brave testimonies.

Gymnasts Share Testimony in Nassar Hearing
U.S. Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman are sworn in to testify during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI handling of the Larry Nassar investigation of sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts, on Capitol Hill, September 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Saul Loeb/Getty Images

McKayla Maroney says she is "exhausted" after sharing her story in her opening statement

McKayla Maroney apologizes to the Committee for not answering more questions.

"After telling that story, I'm exhausted," she said.

Aly Raisman recounts the physical effect of abuse trauma

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked the panel if they have anything to share for Americans who live in a country where this type of abuse happens every day.

Aly Raisman recounted the physical toll the trauma of abuse has on her.

"I don't think people realize how the PTSD, the trauma affects us," she said.

She adds that sometimes she didn't have the energy to stand up in the shower after sharing her story publically.

"I couldn't go for a ten-minute walk, and this is from someone who competed in two Olympic games," she added. "There are times when I forget what I'm saying. I have no energy, I am 27 and my 80-year-old grandfather has more energy than I do."

Raisman said she is "sick from the trauma."

"It hits me out of the blue," she adds. "I often wonder, am I ever going to feel better"

Nassar abused athletes after FBI investigation began in 2015, all four panelists confirm

Senator Blumenthal asked then witnesses if they know if any athletes were abused by Larry Nassar after the FBI began their investigations in July 2015.

All four of the women said yes.

Aly Raisman shared in her opening statement that "Nassar found more than 100 new victims to molest" after she came forward with her report.

"What you've been through is every parent's nightmare," Senator Ted Cruz tell survivors

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) thanked the witnesses for calling out the coverup of their abuse and for sharing their stories again during the hearing.

"What you've been through is every parent's nightmare," he said.

He thanked them on behalf of "children that will not face abuse" because of their strength and courage in speaking out.

"By reporting this abuse, by shining a light, that courage matters and it's making a difference in the lives of others."

Witnesses call for accountability in USAG and USOPC

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked the witnesses what accountability looks like for them.

Aly Raiman said they want an investigation into the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and for survivors to be respected.

Simone Biles added that they also want people involved in the coverup to be prosecuted to the full extent.

"Your quest for accountability is 100 percent justified," Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said. "On behalf of all adults, I apologize."

Athletes call out SafeSport for not handling abuse claims

Aly Raisman said SafeSport for being ineffective and called out the organization for receiving funding from USAG and USOPC.

She described SafeSport handling of abuse complaints like a game of "hot potato," as staff pass off responsibility dealing with abuse reports.

"It needs to be completely separate. SafeSport needs a lot of work," she said.

McKayla Maroney added that "there needs to be accountability within SafeSport.

Survivors offer support and advice for other victims of abuse

Senator Durbin asked the first question to the panel, asking what the survivors would tell other children suffering abuse.

"The first thing that I would want to say to anybody that's watching this, that's suffering in silence or has been through something really traumatic, is that I support them. I believe them," Aly Raisman said. "You are not alone."

McKayla Maroney added that survivors know that "their abuse is enough."

Aly Raisman calls out coverup efforts in USAG and USOPC

Aly Raisman said she is disgusted that "we are still fighting for the most basic answers and accountability over six years later."

She said it took 14 months for the FBI to contact her after she reported the abuse, despite her many requests to be interviewed.

"The [FBI] agent diminished the significance of my abuse and made me feel that my criminal case wasn't worth pursuing," she said.

She called out the cover-up from USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

"Just as it is naive to assume the problem only rests with Nassar, it is unrealistic to think we can grasp the full extent of culpability without understanding how and why USAG and USOPC chose to ignore abuse for decades," she said.

She questioned why several USAG and USOPC employees who retired or resigned were never asked to take accountability for their involvement with the abuse coverup. Raisman speculated that there were incentives, like job opportunities, for officials to dismissed complaints and not take action.

"We just can't fix a problem we don't understand. And we can't understand the problem unless and until we have all the facts."

Maggie Nichols says this hearing is "one of our last opportunities to get justice"

Maggie Nichols, who identified as "Athlete A" from the report, said the FBI covered up her abuse and failure to interview her for more than a year after her complaint was documented.

"USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI have all betrayed me and those who were abused by Larry Nassar, after I reported," she said.

She added that this hearing is "one of our last opportunities to get justice."

"We ask that you do what is in your power to ensure those that engaged in wrongdoing are held accountable under the law," Nichols said.

McKayla Maroney gives heartbreaking testimony about FBI coverup of her abuse

McKayla Maroney retells her story about abuse by USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar.

She said the FBI made false claims about what she said in her initial report of her abuse.

"After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later they made entirely false claims about what I said," Maroney shared.

Maroney gave graphic detail about her molestation, saying she "was naked, completely alone, with him on top of me molesting me for hours."

She called Nassar a pedophile and shared that he molested her several times, including right before she won a team gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics.

Maroney said her abuse was "minimized and disregarded" by the FBI, saying they "wanted to cover it up."

"They had legal, legitimate evidence of child abuse, and did nothing," she said. "If they aren't going to protect me, who are they trying to protect?"

Simone Biles blames Nassar and "the entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse"

Simone Biles breaks shares her opening statement at the Senate hearing.

"To be clear I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame the entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse," she said.

Biles was emotional, sharing her outrage with the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

She said that USA Gymnastics and the USOC "knew that I was abused long before I was aware of their knowledge."

"I don't want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse," Biles said.

Senator Blumenthal calls Larry Nassar "a monster"

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) gets choked up during his opening statement at the Larry Nassar hearing.

"You have truly inspired us," he said to the survivors set to testify today. "You told us you had been failed repeatedly by institutions who were supposed to protect you and you called on us to keep our word."

He then blasted the agents who "actually manufactured statements" and "lied about what survivors told them," calling the mishandling of this case the "ultimate abuse of authority."

"This investigation was mishandled," he added. "And it has to leave us wondering whether the FBI is capable of these kinds of sexual abuse investigations."

Blumenthal also called Nassar a "monster."

"There's no question Larry Nassar was a monster, a horrific predator," he said. "He was not the only monster in gymnastics and gymnastics was not the only sport who had monsters. Our report focused not only on the monsters but the enablers."

Larry Nassar abused 70 athletes, Senator Durbin says

Senator Dick Durbin said that Larry Nassar abused 70 athletes while the FBI was supposed to be investigating him.

"In the 15 month period that FBI officials shirked their responsibilities, Nassar abused 70 young athletes," he said during Wednesday's Senate hearing.

Senator Feinstein praises bravery of Nassar survivors

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) praises the bravery of the survivors of Nassar's abuse testifying today.

"They are really the champions for sexual abuse prevention who are speaking out to ensure that other young athletes do not suffer like they did," she said. "Unfortunately their bravery has been met with a disturbing lack of action from the FBI."

She added that the burden should not be on the survivors to "continually seek justice and demand an end to their nightmares."

"That's the job of our law enforcement agencies, and the FBI candidly must do better," she added.

Senator Grassley calls this case a failure of the entire FBI

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) expressed his outrage with the FBI's handling of the Nassar allegations.

"The FBI severely let down dozens of teenage girls," he said. "Children suffered needlessly."

Grassley added that "this is a serious problem at the heart of the FBI, not a case of a few errant agents."

Durbin calls Nassar case "a stain on the bureau"

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Il) called the Larry Nassar case is "a stain on the bureau."

"Our responsibility is to determine why for over a year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation...refused to really take up this case, which meant that at least 70 others were abused during that period of time," Durbin said.

Durbin added that he is "disappointed" that Justice Department officials are not present to testify at today's hearing on the FBI's mishandling of the allegations against Larry Nassar.

Gymnasts arrive ahead of Senate hearing

Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman have arrived on Capitol Hill to give their testimonies on Larry Nassar in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman arrived moments ago to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation.

Asked why it’s important for her to tell her story again today, Biles did not respond. pic.twitter.com/LCoMK8zUCR

— Julie Tsirkin (@JulieNBCNews) September 15, 2021

Aly Raisman is "deeply disappointed" Merrick Garland will not attend Larry Nassar hearing

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman is on her way to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She expressed that she is "deeply disappointed" that United States Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will not be in attendance.

"Accountability matters," she said in a tweet.

On my way to testify at Senate Judiciary hearing @JudiciaryDems. Deeply disappointed that @LisaMonaco Merrick Garland and @TheJusticeDept won’t be attending. Accountability matters.

— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) September 15, 2021

FBI fires agent who failed to investigate Nassar allegations

The FBI fired an agent accused of failing to properly investigate sexual abuse claims against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Michael Langeman worked as a supervisory special agent in the FBI's Indianapolis field office when he interviewed Olympian McKayla Maroney in 2015 about her allegations against Nassar.

Langeman was fired last week after the Justice Department inspector general released a report criticizing Langeman and his boss, agent in charge Jay Abbott, for their handling of the case.

The report said the agents failed to respond to allegations by gymnasts that had been sexually abused by Nassar "with the urgency that the allegations required."

According to the report, Langeman and Abbott lied to investigators about their actions and never officially opened an investigation.

Officials told The Washington Post that Langeman was removed from his duties as an FBI agent when the report was released in July. Abbott retired several years ago.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Testimony from current and former USA Gymnastics athletes will begin testimony at around 10am (ET).

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Wednesday for all the latest.