WSJ: USA Gymnastics hid the Larry Nassar investigation from Simone Biles
“Can not let you know how difficult this will be to read and process,” Biles, gymnastics’ preeminent celebrity, wrote at a tweet sharing that the WSJ story. “The pain is true and does not just go off… particularly when new facts are still coming out.”
“What’s it going to occur,” she asked,”for a full and independent investigation of both (the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee) and also USAG?”
According to the WSJ report, the game’s governing body in the US, USAG, withheld the investigation of the doctor abuse despite the fact she had been one of the first athletes.
Then-CEO Steve Penny, who abandoned USAG at 2017, was aware of Biles’ worries, ” the report states, when he talked to the FBI but he did not include her in a internal evaluation of Nassar and didn’t mention her.
All this happened as USAG became invested in Biles’ status as the biggest athlete of the sport , together with Penny suggesting that USAG try to become her representative, according to the WSJ. And when USAG approached the FBI at 2015, the WSJ reports, Biles had been in town performing appearances that included attending a party for Penny’s kid’s hands group.
The WSJ says that its report is based on interviews with”key participants;” remarks by Penny’s lawyers; records given to the US Senate Commerce Committee; and also a report by Ropes and Gray, a law firm commissioned from the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Until she came home in Rio de Janeiro in the 2016 Olympics, After the WSJ, Biles didn’t learn of this FBI investigation. It was only in 2018, when Biles disclosed that she, also, was mistreated by Nassar, a USAG official asked her regarding the group physician, the WSJ report says, citing people familiar with the issue.
Nassar, after a sports physician for Michigan State University and the USA Gymnastics national team, is spending the remainder of his life in prison. He pleaded guilty to say charges and child pornography charges of criminal sexual conduct stemming from the abuse of patients.
Women and Over 150 women said he sexually abused them .
In a statement, present USAG President and CEO Li Li Leung explained the organization was”amazed, profoundly saddened and outraged to learn by the Wall Street Journal which Simone Biles was among those athletes cited in the initial notification in 2015 that triggered the first Nassar analysis”
“We have expanded our apologies to Simone and her family,” Leung said,”and we are extremely sorry our company’s leadership at the time handled this situation in a disrespectful and inconsiderate manner”
Has reached out to USOPC and Biles’ household for comment.
‘the harshest betrayals’
A statement released by Penny’s lawyers said that he was”dismayed by the lack of effort made by law enforcement to address concerns regarding Nassar,” adding that he”regrets any athlete advocated the smallest level of discomfort or abuse below Nassar’s care”
“Mr. Penny did not know that Ms. Biles was a victim of Larry Nassar before Ms. Biles released her survivor statement on Twitter,” the announcement said. “Mr. Penny is not aware of all Ms. Biles reporting to USA Gymnastics concern she was uncomfortable with Nassar before USA Gymnastics went to the FBI.”
The attorneys of penny said USAG had been instructed not to discuss the situation with athletes at the time, however, the organization had informed the FBI there had been additional athletes who could be helpful to its evaluation.
Penny’s remark about USAG getting Biles’ representative was”tongue in cheek,” the attorneys told the WSJ.
According to the WSJ, the new head of the US women’s gymnastics program in the moment, Rhonda Faehn, has been told in June 2015 that gymnast Maggie Nichols stated Nassar massaged her buttocks, which Biles and Aly Raisman, yet another acclaimed gymnast, also had worries about him.
The WSJ reported that Faehn, that took notes and wrote down Biles’ and Raisman’s titles, says she phoned Penny that night to inform him. The attorneys of penny said Faehn did not inform him at the moment around Biles. Penny did confess he knew by mid-July that the USAG was aware it”might need to talk” to Biles about Nassar, the WSJ report says. How or when he discovered that penny would not state.
The law firm Ropes and Gray, which ran a separate, 10-month-long evaluation of USAG’s tackling of this Nassar case, reported in its announcement that on June 17, 2015, Faehn was supplied the titles of three gymnasts not named in the report that had questions regarding Nassar.
Two of them”might have experienced’the embarrassing factor’ using Nassar,” the report says, adding Faehn”promptly relayed this info” into Penny,”who said that he would take care of the matter and notify the appropriate authorities.”
One of those two athletes has since publicly identified herself as a survivor of Nassar’s abuse,” the Ropes and Gray report states, but there is no evidence that she”was contacted… to a meeting” by USAG.
“It’s unconscionable — and illegal — that officials purporting to be pioneers in sport intentionally concealed reports of child sexual abuse,” attorneys representing over 200 survivors of Nassar’s abuse stated in a statement got by.
“We demand accountability for the security and well-being of athletes in the 2020 Olympic Games and encourage all patrons to stand with survivors and insist on reform,” the lawyers said.
Her parents told, although biles declined to be interviewed for the story of the WSJ.
“We continue to struggle with why and how this occurred, and each time we hear something new like that, it feels like the harshest of betrayals and it is just too painful to our loved ones to speak about openly,” they said in a statement. “To this day, we still don’t know why Simone’s abuse was hidden by Steve Penny, USAG and USOPC.”