(TargetLiberty.org) – Female gymnasts go over and above to achieve greatness. Yet, they often sacrifice so much in order to hone their craft. Many fight through pain, exhaustion, restrictive diets, constant travel, and intense training sessions before they ever reach the point where they’re considered eligible for the nationals, let alone the Olympics. The United States women’s national gymnastics team members now say the FBI failed to protect them from predators, too.
Female Gymnasts Speak at Senate Hearing
Gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman bravely shared their stories of abuse at the hands of sports doctor Larry Nassar during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on September 15. All four women say the physician sexually abused them under the guise of care while they served on the team.
Tragically, Nassar isn’t the only person in a position of authority to fail these talented women in a big way. They also accused the FBI of failing to address dozens of allegations of child sexual abuse filed by USA Gymnastics team President Stephen Penny back in 2015.
FBI Fires Michael Langeman for Mishandling Investigation
The FBI claims it assigned a team from its Indianapolis Field Office to investigate the allegations shortly after Penny reported them. It was agent Michael Langeman’s job to spearhead that initiative. The agency now says he failed to follow protocol, completely mishandling the investigation almost from day one.
The results of that failure were devastating for Nassar’s victims. Not only did he continue the abuse, but he also managed to fly under the radar until only a short time ago. Langeman’s failure to take action on the sexual abuse reports essentially empowered the predator, and this ultimately led the FBI to fire him last week.
A Damning Report
An FBI report from July 2021, reveals just how badly Michael Langeman’s team failed in processing the heartbreaking reports. While they did interview three girls via telephone, reviewing evidence on a single thumb drive shortly afterward, their efforts essentially stopped there.
In fact, Langeman’s team didn’t even bother to open an official investigation. They didn’t document any of their investigative activity, either, leaving behind just five handwritten pages worth of details in a case we now know probably affected up to 300 women.
The FBI later transferred the case to their Los Angeles office, which first claimed it was unable to locate critical documents on agency servers. While that minor issue was eventually sorted, the team in LA also failed to work with state and local authorities on the issue, despite being fully aware that Nassar likely broke federal laws.
“We Have Been Failed”
Biles and the other female gymnasts who bravely stood up to speak out about the FBI’s failures in front of the US Senate have an important message for the agency:
“We have been failed and we deserve answers.”
They’re no longer willing to sit idly by, waiting for the agency to stop turning a blind eye to their allegations of child sexual abuse. As Biles told Senate hearing leaders, they refuse to let even one more little girl fall victim to people like Nassar, who prey on young girls who participate in the sport.
Biles also doesn’t mince words about the FBI’s culpability in mishandling this case. She says they suffer because “no one at [the] FBI, USAG, or the US OPC did what was necessary to protect [them].”
Biles and other survivors like her want the agency to stop making excuses. How did someone like Nassar manage to escape justice for so long, even in the face of countless child sexual abuse reports? They deserve answers in a timely manner, and they deserve to be protected.
Yet, for Nassar’s victims, speaking out is about far more than just bringing the doctor to justice. It’s a rallying cry to other girls in an industry where sexual abuse is all too common.
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