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Op-ed: I chair the Senate Judiciary Committee. U.S. Olympic gymnasts illuminated the ugly truth about sexual assault. We must take action.

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24.09.2021

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney sat at a witness table in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room. All eyes were on her, but not for the reasons we were used to. As her teammates and the FBI director looked on, she recounted how, six years earlier, she had detailed her childhood abuse by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to the nation’s top law enforcement agency.

It was the summer of 2015. On the other end of the phone was Michael Langeman, a supervisory special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Langeman not only failed to act on what he heard from Maroney for a staggering 14 months, but also fabricated the details of her disclosure — and still kept his job for another six years.

Maroney paused as she remembered that day, and how as soon as she finished recounting her trauma, her lingering tears were met with silence from Langeman, until finally the agent asked: “Is that all?”

Now a 25-year-old retired Olympic champion, Maroney told the committee that moment was “one of the worst moments of this entire process for me. To have my abuse be minimized and disregarded by the people who were supposed to protect me, just to feel like my abuse was not enough.”

The Sept. 15 hearing was historic in........

© Chicago Tribune


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