‘We need to hold people accountable’: Nassar abuse survivor

U.S.

(NewsNation) —  Some big names in the world of gymnastics are taking on the FBI.

Olympic Gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are among roughly 90 women suing the federal agency for $1 billion claiming the bureau failed to stop sports doctor Larry Nassar from continuing to abuse girls after learning about allegations against him. 

In 2015, Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics informed local FBI agents that three gymnasts said they were assaulted by team doctor Larry Nassar. But, according to the Justice Department’s inspector general, the FBI did not open a formal investigation or alert Michigan authorities. Agents in Los Angeles launched a sexual tourism investigation against Nassar in 2016 and still did not tell Michigan authorities, the inspector general reported.

Nassar was not arrested until fall of 2016 in Michigan.

Survivor Arianna Guerrero courageously shared her story with NewsNation. She says Nassar started abusing her when she was just 11 years old, and it carried on until she was almost 16 years old.

Years later, the emotional scars and pain remain.

“It’s been a roller coaster. I’ve had my hard days. I’ve had my easy days. I’ve had my hard months and weeks. It’s getting better though,” Guerrero said. “I’m learning to live with it and use it to help other girls come forward.”

Guerrero says she deals with trauma every single day.

“Whether it’s PTSD, I still see it. It still comes in the back of my head all the time, flashbacks of the courtroom and facing him, the smart remarks he’s made to us. It’s just very hard.” Guerrero said.

Guerrero believes the FBI must be held accountable for allegedly not taking action to protect young gymnasts like herself. It’s why she’s among the claimants in the lawsuit against the agency.

The FBI “did not do anything. They did not hold anybody accountable that should have been held accountable,” Guerrero said. “Transparency is a big thing that we need to acknowledge. The problem needs to be acknowledged, so we can change it. We need to hold people accountable for what they have done to us.”

The former gymnast says no one should be abused, especially not 90 women.

“It really breaks my heart because us 90 women, we weren’t supposed to be victims,” Guerrero said. “The investigation should have been handled back then in 2015. Us 90 women should not be here speaking.”

The FBI refused to comment on the legal action. But last year at a Senate hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray recognized mistakes made by the agency.

“I’m especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed. And that’s inexcusable,” Wray said.

A government agency, under federal law, has six months to respond to the kind of tort claims filed by the gymnasts June 8.

Nassar is serving decades in prison after pleading guilty in 2017.

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