Former Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney savaged the Federal Bureau of Investigations during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wednesday, declaring that the FBI tried to cover up her allegations of sexual abuse, and allowed a serial pedophile to continue molesting young gymnasts for another 14 months. Maroney, who in 2012 was considered the best female vaulter in the world, also testified that the FBI lied in a report about her allegations of sexual abuse against disgraced former doctor Larry Nassar.
Nassar was finally imprisoned in 2017 for sexually molesting more than 150 young women over a 20 year period as the US Gymnastics’ team doctor. The Justice Department Inspector General issued a blistering report in July criticizing the FBI for grossly mishandling its investigation into Nassar, and Wednesday’s Senate hearing was scheduled not long after.
“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 seventeen months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said,” Maroney testified, visibly angry.
She said when she read the Office of Inspector General Report, she was shocked at the “narrative” the FBI had “chosen to fabricate.”
“They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester, rather than protect not only me, but countless others. My story is one in which special agent Jay Abbott and his subordinates did not want you to hear,” Maroney said.
In his report, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz blasted Abbott, who was then the FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge, for failing to respond to allegations of sexual abuse “with the urgency that the allegations required.”
The report concluded that Abbott made false statements to investigators and “violated FBI policy and exercised extremely poor judgment under federal ethics rules.”
Maroney said that she provided “extreme details” about Nassar’s abuse during a three-hour phone interview with Abbott, disclosing specific information she had not even told her mother.
“As uncomfortable and hard as it was to tell my story, I thought I was going to make a difference, and hopefully protect others from the same abuse,” she testified.
Maroney shared some profoundly disturbing details of her sexual abuse to the U.S. Senate.
“The first thing Larry Nasser ever said to me was to change into shorts with no underwear because that would make it easier for him to work on me,” she said. “And within minutes, he had his fingers in my vagina.”
After being told this, Maroney recalled, the FBI agent asked a series of bizarre and inappropriate questions, like “did he insert his fingers into your rectum,” did he use gloves?” and “did this treatment” ever help her. She said she responded NO to all of the questions.
“This treatment was 100 percent abuse and never gave me any relief,” she testified.
“I then told the FBI about Tokyo. The day he gave me a sleeping pill for the plane ride to then work on me later that night. That night I was naked. Completely alone with him on top of me, molesting me for hours. I told them [the FBI] I thought I was going to die that night because there was no way that he would let me go. But he did.”
She said she told the FBI that she remembered walking the halls of the hotel at 2:00 a.m., apparently traumatized, and in a state of shock. “I was only 15-years-old,” she said.
“I began crying at the memory over the phone, and there was just dead silence,” Maroney continued. “I was so shocked at the agent’s silence and disregard for my trauma. After that minute of silence, he asked: ‘Is that all?'”
The former Olympian said that the FBI agent’s totally disregard for what she had just divulged was the “worst part” of the entire process for her.
“To have my abuse minimized and disregarded by the people who are supposed to protect me,” Maroney said, made her feel like the abuse she experienced was not enough to stop Nassar.
“But it was enough,” she said. “The truth is my abuse WAS enough, and they wanted to cover it up,” she stated.
Maroney accused USA Gymnastics, the Olympic Committee and the FBI of colluding “to conceal that Larry Nassar was a predator.”
She said that after the FBI heard her story, Nassar should have been arrested that day, but instead, he was allowed to continue on in his position to molest dozens of other young gymnasts for almost another year and a half.
When Abbott finally did produce a report, the OIG harshly condemned it as making “material, false statements and deceptive omissions.”
“What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?” Maroney asked the committee. “They had legal legitimate evidence of child abuse and did nothing. If they’re not going to protect me, I want to know who are they trying to protect.”
Horowitz testified that he referred the agents’ conduct for criminal prosecution to attorneys at the the Justice Department.
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified Wednesday that federal investigators made “totally unacceptable” errors, and that Abbott had recently been fired.
“When I received the inspector general’s report and saw that the supervisory special agent in Indianapolis had failed to carry out even the most basic parts of the job, I immediately made sure he was no longer performing the functions of a special agent,” Wray said. “And I can now tell you that individual no longer works for the FBI in any capacity.”
Wray said the FBI agents “betrayed the core duty that they have of protecting people” and “failed to protect young women and girls from abuse.”
“I don’t have a good explanation for you,” he testified, noting he felt “heartsick and furious” when he learned of the FBI’s failures in the Nassar investigation. “It is utterly jarring to me. It is totally inconsistent with what we train our people on and totally inconsistent from what I see from the hundreds of agents that work these cases every day.”