tv Olympic Gymnasts Sens. Blumenthal Grassley Hold a Press Conference CSPAN September 16, 2021 12:56am-1:27am EDT
sen. blumenthal: all set? i'm richard blumenthal, u.s. senator from connecticut. welcome, everyone. welcome particularly to the athletes who testified earlier today, and who were so extraordinarily impactful and impressive in the testimony that they gave. i want to thank my colleague, senator grassley, for joining us, the ranking member on the judiciary committee, and my colleague, senator moran, who could not be with us. today marks another step in a continuing quest for accountability and justice. director wray testified just moments ago that he has run out of adjectives. i suggested to him, we have all run out of adjectives to
describe the monstrous, horrific, predatory, criminal conduct of larry nassar. we've run out of adjectives, but we haven't run out of action. that's what the gymnasts deserve. the criminal conduct by larry nassar, unfortunately, was not unique to him, and it was not unique to gymnastics. it was enabled by others, and others have been enabled in this kind of predatory conduct. the fbi became an enabler rather than an enforcer. the fbi became part of the problem. not the solution. and i have strongly called for continuing criminal
investigation, if necessary, under new jurisdictional issues, because i think justice will be done only if there is accountability here. we have legislated reforms in the u.s. olympic and paralympic committee. we have legislated reforms in safe sports. but we need accountability still. and that is why this hearing should be followed by another, and i believe it will be. it will involve the department of justice coming before our committee and explaining why there has been no criminal prosecution here, despite a referral twice for criminal prosecution by the inspector general.
these fbi agents lied on 302 reports, they are internal reports which are essential to criminal prosecutions. their material misstatements and deceptive omissions by fbi agents, in my view, are serious allegations that deserve further investigation. and they lied, apparently, not only there, but also to the inspector general as well. so, let me just summarize, and then i will turn it over to my colleague, senator grassley. he will be followed by whoever would like to say a few words about today among the gymnasts, former gymnasts. they are stars. they really broke through today.
they made an impact that i've rarely seen in my decade in the united states senate. their testimony was so powerful and important, and i want to thank them on behalf of the members who participated today for the courage and strength, their grace, and daring. not only in the course of their tremendous athletic performance, but as role models for so many young women and men. in the way they stood up, spoke out, and made an impact today. thank you. senator grassley. sen. grassley: first of all, i associate myself with all the remarks you made.
and i thank these women for being here today. and i don't know whether i can say it any stronger than if you heard senator durbin's remarks immediately after these women testified. he said something along the lines that he's never heard such strong testimony to back up, one, the need for maybe further legislation, further hearings, but also the inadequacy of the enforcement of existing laws. or even if it doesn't involve the enforcement of existing laws, it involves the fbi derelict in what they were doing. so whether it's the lack of what xavier branch agencies didn't do, or whether we need more legislation, is a question that is totally backed up by the testimony of these women, and
particularly, their speaking out for hundreds of other people that were affected the same way they were affected. we've been somewhat successful in passing some legislation, but this testimony indicates that we need to do a lot more, and i think we have worked in a bipartisan way in the first instances, and will continue to work in a bipartisan way otherwise. thank you very much for your help, and thank you all for coming. sen. blumenthal: now, do you want to go first? ms. lorincz: i'm going to drag the steps. thank you. my name is kaylee lorincz, and my last appointment with larry nassar was february 2 of 2016, and that appointment never should have happened.
i am here speaking on behalf of the 120 victims who saw larry after the fbi knew of his abuse in 2015, and failed to investigate, failed to take action, and failed to protect. let me be clear -- i should not be here. i was abused from 2011 to 2016 and my life has been forever changed. when i think of the fbi, i think of truth, integrity, and honor. and yet the reality of their actions was the exact opposite. one of the fbi core values is listed as accountability. so let me ask, where is the accountability? where is the accountability for letting larry continue to sexually assault little girls on your watch? where is the accountability for those at the fbi who chose to place personal gain ahead of
their duties to protect and serve? had any one of the fbi done their job, then i would not here speaking to you today. accountability will only occur when the fbi agents who did not do their job face criminal charges. my 2016 abuse is on them. it is five years later. five years of asking the same questions. it's time for these questions to be answered. thank you. [applause] ms. raisman: we are going to open it up to questions. is someone -- are we supposed to? reporter: [inaudible]
ms. maroney: go ahead, yeah. ms. raisman: ok. so, i think that in regards to the question about safe sport, i think it's really important for it to be a completely separate entity, and safe sport should not be funded by an organization that there are reports against. and there needs to be more clear -- what's the right word? what i was trying to say earlier was that with safe sport in some of my personal experience, and also with my mom's personal experience, and with -- sorry, it has been a very long day. and with other people that i
>> i also think that whatever can be done to have all three u.s. ag and fbi be investigated and -- says there has been investigations, but the scope of the investigation was not acceptable and it needs to be completely independent, it needs to go back decades, nothing is off-limits. until we know the answers to that, we don't know who to hold accountable and there might still be people there in positions of power. >> [inaudible]
>> i have not w watched the testimony because this is a lot on us. i do plan to watch it, but in order for me to be here right now, i need to take a mental break. no, i do not take any of their word. even getting empty promises from u.s. ag and uso pc for years and i do not take people's word for things. it has to be action. hopefully today will be a day that effects meaningful change and people will be held accountable. i think we deserve more.
>> can i introduce jessica howard to say a few words? >> hi. this is probably the first time i have stood in washington dc, listening to all of these words and all of these -- you are so brave comments -- i sat here and actually believed that something was going to be done. when i was at the beginning of the end of my career, my coach pulled me aside before i got kicked out of the gym forever, and she said my failure in life was going to be that i trusted people too much. and i spoke too freely. that has haunted me like a ghost because i have been torn between wanting to trust people when they say things and went to believe they are going to do the right thing.
and then actually seeing somebody doing the right thing -- there are only a handful of people who have. that handful happens to be part of the most powerful organization in the united states. one of the most powerful organizations, the senate. i do not know how we got to be here today but i can say thank you from the bottom of my heart. it has -- my life. i know that everybody here, all of the victims, we are tired of sharing our stories so people could have their heartstrings tugged. it is the people that actually can't enforce the laws -- the people accountable, this will get fixed. it will go away on future generations will not face the abuse we have faced and they will not face a lifetime of side effects that may or may not be
the end of them. i want to thank the senate, thank you for everything. i believe you. i believed you when you spoke last time i was here and today i believe you even more. thank you. [applause] >> i would just emphasize that we were last in this room, many of you were here and we made a promise to continue this fight. we are going to continue this fight. we have achieved legislation. we are going to continue this effort because we need to keep faith with you. and with all of the athletes who may be survivors and victims of this kind of abuse. you are the faces and voices that will achieve real change. the enablers, the culture, the
system is more than just one monster predator like larry nasser. there is a much broader responsibility and a need for accountability. that is what we are going to seek. action and accountability. other questions? yes. >> [indiscernible] >> i sound like a broken record, but i think your question is important. i often ask myself the same thing and i think instead of us
guessing if someone should be in the position of leadership or power, this is why i'm saying we need to have an independent investigation because i do not have all of the answers. when you look at their press statements, for decades they have been saying the same things. with no real meaningful change. i can't understand how, when you are a ceo with nothing to do with this disaster and you come in as the new ceo and you know you are coming into a massive problem of sexual abuse and the first thing you do is not investigate. to not investigate, to not do anything when people shame survivors and not here survivors and try to create more education
and to do things that will truly make change, it is completely unacceptable. i can't understand. if i was the ceo of an organization, the first thing i would do is have an independent investigation. i am not sure why that hasn't been done yet. maybe we can speculate that they are afraid it is so bad they do not want to find out. >> i would just say, -- sports has an independent source of funding. the jury is out on whether it is going to be sufficient in terms of the reforms made already. we are going to be monitoring it. we have a responsibility to watch closely. all of the reforms can be -- and we may well meet -- >> [indiscernible]
>> i am going to be demanding more of the fbi. more importantly of the department of justice. the department of justice today was a no-show. the department of justice failed to appear. they have responsibility for the fbi, for the prosecution and for action here. director ray may have run out of adjectives, but the department has not run out of action. they should be answering many of the questions. i am by no means satisfied with what i heard today.
>> as somebody who has been in and out of these hearings, i would like to let you know that if the fbi had done anything that was even within their own policies and procedures, or followed any of the laws already in place to protect children, some of these people would not be here as victims, let alone talk about recovery. it seems redundant to me to continue to talk about the things that are going to be put in place when people cannot hear something about violent child sexual abuse, trafficking and being accessories to the fact that larry nasser did what he did, then we are somehow supposed to be answer where the fbi screwed up. there amazing people, good people, but if you do not work with a moral standard and do the very basics of their jobs, we hope that can happen. there are 120 people who would
not have been victims had one fbi agent made a proper report or phone call. >> at the hearing, i asked everyone of these women whether they knew, personally, victims who became survivors during that 18 month period. july 2015 to the end of 2016. there were 120 young women who laid before larry nasser on his examining table and he did with them whatever he wanted because the fbi did nothing. let's be very clear, the fbi's in action led to victimization
of the most horrific and hideous kind. >> [indiscernible] >> i asked director wray about the potential for conspiracy. i am going to be following up with him and inspector general horowitz and both of them said they would cooperate. i do not know whether anyone will be fired, but i hope we haven't heard the last. >> [indiscernible]
>> something about a subpoena? >> that's better. >> [indiscernible] >> i definitely want to hear more from the department of justice. today we heard nothing from the department of justice. after a letter that i wrote along with senator feinstein, specifically urging the top leadership of the department of justice to come before us. i want cooperation. i would like to hear their testimony. >> can i say one thing?
also, just the message, by them not showing up, to me says that child abuse does not matter. i think that is something that people in positions of power and these powerful organizations need to think about. the message they are sending that abuse doesn't matter. i think it is shocking and disturbing that they did not think it was important or they did not think what happened to us -- i would have to speculate -- wasn't bad enough. it is unacceptable. hopefully we will get to hear their testimonies and if there is another hearing they will show up. >> i will just say generally, what we saw from the indianapolis office of the fbi, then the los angeles office,
then the entire system, was a failure to take seriously these allegations. they didn't take them seriously. that is what really should be outrageous. the perception may well be that the department of justice doesn't take this issue seriously. sometimes perception becomes reality. >> [indiscernible] >> i can think of one thing. indictments. people being arrested, where there is evidence and where there are witnesses.
if there are no indictments and there is nobody being arrested and the people that have become accessories to trafficking and handing us on a silver platter to larry nasser are not held to account, i don't know what today was for. but, today was for something and i believe those things will begin to happen. >> thank you, everyone. i appreciate your being here. sorry for the delay and thank you especially to you all. again. maybe we will be back in this room. >> thank you. >> thank you. -- >> thank you.
p.m. eastern on c-span, online at c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> u.s. gymnast simone biles and others testified before the senate judiciary committee about abuse they endured from former u.s. gymnastic team doctor larry nasser. they accused the fbi agent test with the investigation of covering up their claims of abuse. following their testimony, fbi christopher wray and general michael horowitz spoke before the committee about the investigation. this is about four hours.