History Making Gymnast Simone Biles Learns Her Sexual Assault Claims Were Swept Under Rug by USA Gymnastics Officials

Photo: Matthias Schrader (AP)

In another example that there are systems in place to protect evil power wielders, Simone Biles has expressed “pain” in learning that her initial sexual abuse claim against team doctor Larry Nassar was basically ignored.

The 22-year old gymnast—who made history on Oct. 13 as the gymnast with the most medals earned at the world championship level—expressed anguish about learning that she was left out of USA Gymnastics’ initial investigation of Nassar.

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Biles is one of the hundreds of gymnasts who publicly accused Nassar of sexual misconduct.

According to ESPN, a U.S. Senate investigation revealed Biles was one of several athletes who expressed concerns about Nassar to USA Gymnastics officials in June 2015, according to notes collected by the investigators.

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Nassar is a convicted serial child molester serving life in prison for child porn possession and molesting young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biles learned of the investigations only after returning from her gold-medal performance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she was part of the team dubbed the “Final Five.”

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The article states former USA Gymnastics chief Steve Penny allegedly knew about her concerns and intentionally did not include her in the investigation or mention her name to the FBI.

Through his lawyer, Penny has denied this claim.

In July 2015, USA Gymnastics hired someone to speak to several of its gymnasts about their concerns and subsequently passed that information on to the FBI, which opened its own investigation into Nassar.

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Biles wasn’t informed about either investigation until more than a year later.

“Can’t tell you how this is to read and process,” Biles tweeted in response to the article. “The pain is real and doesn’t just go away... especially when new facts are still coming out. What’s it going to take for a complete and independent investigation of both USOPC and USAG???” (United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee)

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In August, Biles expressed frustration with how she and other survivors of sexual assault have been treated by USA Gymnastics as she continues to work toward another Olympic appearance in Tokyo next year.

On Thursday, Biles also wrote that “numb is becoming a normal feeling.”

In a statement, her parents, Ron and Nellie Biles, also spoke out about the investigation being kept a secret from her.

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“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,” the statement reads. “To this day, we still do not know why Simone’s abuse was concealed by Steve Penny, USAG and USOPC.”

In January 2018, Biles first publicly revealed that she was sexually abused by Nassar in a statement on Twitter.

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“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” her statement read. “I’ve felt a bit broken and the more I try to shut off the voice in my head the louder it screams. I am not afraid to tell my story anymore.”

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About the author

Karu F. Daniels

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!