The elite athletes spoke out about the abuse they suffered and how gymnastics officials turned a “blind eye” to Nassar’s alleged crimes. In response, FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was “deeply and profoundly sorry” for delays in Nassar’s prosecution and the pain it caused.
Jolie penned a moving tribute on Instagram Thursday saying she was “honored” to meet the brave women who are fighting for accountability and change.
“I was honored to meet with some of the brave US gymnasts who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday,” the actress wrote. “I’m in awe of their courage and commitment to preventing future failures to investigate abuse. As Aly Raisman said in her testimony, ;Over 100 victims could have been spared the abuse. All we needed was one adult to do the right thing.'”‘
“Sending support and respect to them, and to all who are reliving this trauma so that system reforms can occur. I was on Capitol Hill this week, engaging with Senators on the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and FBI reforms, including better protections for abused children, non-biased forensic evidence collection, trauma care, and judicial training.”
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles (L), Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney (C), Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman (R) spoke during Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. about the FBI’s mishandling of the sexual abuse case made against their former team doctor Larry Nassar (boxed image). (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP | Saul Loeb/AFP/Bloomberg )
In the photo Jolie posted, she is posing with gymnasts Kaylee Lorincz, Maggie Nichols, McKayla Maroney, Jessica Howard, and Aly Raisman, who all testified how they were abused by Nassar while on the team.
The hearing is part of a congressional effort to hold the FBI accountable after multiple missteps in investigating the case, including the delays that allowed the now-imprisoned Nassar to abuse other young gymnasts. All four witnesses said they knew girls or women who were molested by Nassar after the FBI had been made aware of allegations against him in 2015.
An internal investigation by the Justice Department released in July said the FBI made fundamental errors in the probe and did not treat the case with the “utmost seriousness” after USA Gymnastics first reported the allegations to the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis in 2015. The FBI has acknowledged its own conduct was inexcusable.
Wray blasted his own agents who failed to appropriately respond to the complaints and made a promise to the victims that he was committed to “make damn sure everybody at the FBI remembers what happened here” and that it never happens again.
A supervisory FBI agent who had failed to properly investigate the Nassar case, and later lied about it, has been fired by the agency, Wray said.
Nassar pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal child pornography offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan. He is now serving decades in prison after hundreds of girls and women said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment when he worked for Michigan State and Indiana-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.
Litigation over the abuse may soon be coming to an end after USA Gymnastics and hundreds of Nassar’s victims filed a joint $425 million settlement proposal in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis last month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.