(Bloomberg) -- Senators blasted the FBI for failing to properly investigate evidence that former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused athletes, as star Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney prepared to tell their stories of abuse at a hearing Wednesday.
FBI failures in its investigation into Nassar “paint a shocking picture of FBI dereliction of duty and gross incompetence,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said Wednesday at the hearing.
“Today our focus is on the FBI -- how did it fail so badly when it came to Larry Nassar’s victims?” Durbin said. “Make no mistake, egregious failures like this one do not arise out of nowhere.”
Nassar was team doctor for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team for almost two decades. More than 100 women accused Nassar of sexual abuse. He was convicted on a variety of state and federal charges and is serving sentences that amount to life without parole.
This year, Biles won a team silver medal and a bronze on the balance beam at the Olympics in Tokyo. She also attracted attention, and widespread praise, for her candor in discussing mental health issues that led her to drop out of other events.
Olympian Aly Raisman and collegiate gymnast Maggie Nichols also are scheduled to testify at the Senate Judiciary hearing. The four gymnasts testifying on Wednesday all have said publicly that they were abused by Nassar.
FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to appear separately along with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
A report by Horowitz in July found that senior officials in the Indianapolis Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to respond urgently to allegations of sexual abuse of athletes by Nassar, taking more than a year to gear up its investigation. The investigation occurred before Wray became FBI director.
The report said the Indianapolis office made “fundamental errors” when it did respond to the allegations, didn’t properly document its findings, failed to notify the appropriate FBI field office or state or local authorities of the allegations -- and failed to take other steps to mitigate the ongoing threat posed by Nassar.
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