It’s been almost two years since Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison by a Eaton County, Michigan court on criminal sexual conduct charges, but we are still learning more details about how he was able to continue as the team doctor for USA Gymnastics for so long. (Nassar also received a 40- to 175-year sentence in Ingham County, Michigan, as well as a 60-year sentence in federal court on child pornography charges.)
A new report from the Wall Street Journal says that even though USA Gymnastics was conducting an investigation into Nassar—they didn’t tell Simone Biles until after the Rio Olympics in 2016. Per the WSJ, Biles was one of three gymnasts (along with Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols) who had expressed discomfort about Nassar in 2015, but they say she was not interviewed by the body’s own investigator before the Nassar story went public in 2016.
Rhonda Faehn, the former director of the women’s program for USA Gymnastics, said in testimony before Congress that she was notified in June 2015 that Biles, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman had “concerns” about the doctor’s treatment methods. She claims that she passed that information to Steve Penny, then-President of USA Gymnastics, which he disputes. Though, per USA Today, he does admit to knowing Biles was someone they “might want to talk to about Nassar.” But that never happened and Biles then met with the FBI on the matter in the fall of 2016.
In January 2018, Biles publicly announced that she had been abused by Nassar. “I, too, am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” she said at the time. “There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now that it is not my fault.”
The most decorated gymnast of all-time declined to be interviewed for the WSJ story, but her parents gave the paper this statement: “We continue to struggle with how and why this happened, and every time we hear something new like this, it feels like the harshest of betrayals and it is just too painful for our family to talk about openly.”
Biles is not staying silent, however, tweeting about the story herself. “Can’t tell you how hard this is to read and process. The pain is real and doesn’t just go away…especially when new facts are still coming out,” she wrote. “What’s it going to take for a complete and independent investigation of both USOPC and USAG???” She followed it up with, “Numb is becoming a normal feeling.”
Biles also recently spoke out against a distasteful banner hanging at a University of Michigan fraternity house ahead of a football game with rival Michigan State University, where Nassar worked. “You can’t touch us @LarryNassar,” it read. Biles responded, “unbelievable….. this is the type of stuff that makes me sick to my stomach. I hope the school is taking the proper measurements in investigating this…”
The school announced it “will be pursuing corrective action with those responsible for hanging the banners and those who failed to intervene.”