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Gymnastics-Nassar whistleblower says lawsuits against FBI can prompt change for future survivors -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. Rachael denhollander, former gymnast, makes statements during Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing in Charlotte. Larry Nassar was a former doctor for USA Gymnastics. He pleaded guilty to the charges of sexual assault in November 2017.


By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters), Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast and whistleblower said Wednesday that lawsuits alleging that FBI investigators failed to investigate Larry Nassar’s ex-USA Gymnastics coach Larry Nassar may bring about significant change for abuse survivors.

Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and McKayla maroney were just a few of the 90 people who claimed that former FBI agents mishandled credible complaints about Nassar in 2015. They sought a sum of $1 billion.

According to them, the FBI failed to act and allowed Nassar’s molesting of young girls until he was arrested in 2016. The FBI representatives were unavailable for comment immediately.

Denhollander was the first to publicly accuse Nassar. She said that she wasn’t among those who claimed her abuse occurred before 2015 but that the lawsuits were “a constant reminder about the huge levels of betrayal”.

She told Reuters that all survivors involved in this lawsuit hope that meaningful change will be sparked so the next generation of survivors has a better system, and protection from the halls of justice.

Denhollander is a former competition gymnast, who works now as an attorney for victims. In 2016, Denhollander made public her claims against Nassar. This led to more than 350 others women coming forward.

Nassar received a sentence of up to 175 years imprisonment in 2018 for abuse of young female gymnasts who were under his supervision.

Denhollander acknowledged that the increased awareness in the world about sports abuse has encouraged her, but she cautioned against complacency.

“I also start to hear people say things like, “Oh, this is all we are hearing.” It’s so serious, she explained.

“It is up to us at a social level not to grow weary in pushing the reform and to stop closing our eyes to what’s actually happening.”