Aly Raisman said Thursday that the FBI agent she told about disgraced former U.S. gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar declined the abuse she suffered when she spoke about it.
Raisman appeared on NBC’s “Today” show and was asked to explain in more detail what the FBI agent in question did to make her feel that her trauma “wasn’t that bad.” She said the agent, when it was “convenient” for him, flew to Boston to “pressure” her to accept Nassar’s plea deal.
She also said Steve Penny, the former president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, was trying to prevent the accusations from leaking outside the organization.
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“From the very beginning, when I reported my abuse to Steve Penny… from the very beginning Steve Penny kept telling my mom and I that the most important thing was to keep things private. The most important was to give McKayla Maroney some leeway. He was trying to make sure we didn’t talk about it. It seemed like his biggest concern from the start was that it wasn’t going to come out. It was never ” How are you feeling, what can we do to help you? ‘”Said Raisman.
She said when she asked Penny if Nassar would be at a certain meeting, Penny was more concerned with her signing the touring deal.
“There was never any concern for how we were doing,” Raisman said.
She said she felt pressure to be interviewed at the headquarters of the US Olympic Committee, even though she felt uncomfortable doing so. She said that at the time of the interview she did not feel any support.
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“I didn’t feel supported when I went into the graphical details of my abuse, which is clear. … The agent kept cutting back on my abuse and telling me he didn’t really have it. felt like it was a big deal and maybe I should drop the case, “Raisman said.” And when it suited the FBI agent, he flew to Boston even though I had asked. that my initial interview was with my mother there. When it suited him and he wanted to convince me to accept Nassar’s plea deal or pressured me to accept Nassar’s plea deal, it was appropriate for him. He felt it was worth flying to Boston. It just wasn’t a good experience. “
Raisman thanked Senators for their support on Wednesday when she and her other Olympic teammates, including McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles, spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the failed FBI investigation into the abuse of Nassar.
She said it was disappointing that the Justice Department was not there and called for an independent investigation into why the FBI fired an agent who allegedly did not seek information about Nassar’s abuse. Inspector General Michael Horowitz has confirmed that there were two FBI agents whose conduct was referred for a criminal investigation, but so far no prosecution has been initiated.
“The senators seemed very supportive and very supportive of us, for which we are very grateful, and my question to them if they can help us and if they can launch these investigations for us because we have been asking for it for years and until we have that… like why did this person retire. What did she do, the FBI felt it was not acceptable that she had to? let her go? have? ” Raisman wondered.
FBI Director Christopher Wray denied knowing why no criminal case had been initiated, saying it was “a decision of the Department of Justice.”
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Going forward, Wray said, he and his leadership team are determined to ensure that with the actions they have taken in response to this case, FBI members “will learn lessons so that this does not happen. happen again ”.