▶ Watch Video: Gymnast Aly Raisman on FBI and DOJ’s handling of Nassar sex abuse investigation
Elite gymnast Aly Raisman testified in detail before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday about the FBI’s mishandling of the sex abuse investigation of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The decorated athlete spoke to “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King Thursday about how the testimony took a physical and emotional toll on her.
“The weeks leading up to preparing for the testimony was so draining and so exhausting, and it affects me physically, like I have migraines, I am like so tired, my body hurts. I feel like I just finished a training session,” Raisman said.
She, along with gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols, all emotionally detailed the sexual abuse they suffered by Nassar during the hearing.
Nassar was convicted in 2017 and was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for crimes of sexual abuse and child pornography.
A report released this summer found that FBI employees in two offices botched the investigation into Nassar in 2015 and 2016 and “failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that the allegations deserved and required.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified he has no explanation for the actions of agents at those two offices. He said the bureau is taking steps to ensure this never happens again.
Raisman said she has not heard directly from the FBI about any steps being taken.
“I think there has been a resignation and someone was fired, but it’s similar with USA Gymnastics and USOPC where we don’t have explanations, and that leaves us to speculate or guess when we’re talking about children being safe and children being spared the abuse that I and so many others endured. We want answers,” Raisman said.
She said being let down by so many organizations and people has made processing the ordeal difficult.
“I think processing this is really hard to navigate it. It’s hard, especially when, for so long, I think all of our abuse was really diminished by people in big positions of power. You know, the FBI, U.S. Olympic Committee, and USA Gymnastics making us feel like our abuse wasn’t a big deal,” she said. “So I think that for me personally, it’s taken a lot of therapy, a lot of time for me to realize what happened to me was bad, and what I feel is real and that this is so much bigger than us.”
Raisman said she recalls talking about some of her experiences with her teammates, but she said there wasn’t a lot of conversation behind “what sexual abuse and sexual assault was.”
In the upcoming Lifetime three-hour documentary, “Aly Raisman: Darkness to Light,” the gymnast will share her story with other sexual abuse survivors. She said that the documentary, along with Wednesday’s testimony, has helped her feel “validated.”
“Something that I learned from the Lifetime show but also even from yesterday being with my friends and my teammates is the power of community, and it’s so special to be able to connect with survivors that I’ve never met before, that we have this special unspoken bond where I feel like we can finish each other’s sentences,” she said. “They helped me feel validated. They helped me feel less alone, so I can only hope that they felt the same thing from me.”