INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gut-wrenching testimony by four elite gymnasts on enduring sexual abuse at the hands of former Team USA doctor, Larry Nassar, was heard Wednesday.
Now, the whistleblower who first spoke publicly about the case is calling for the U.S. Senate to change sovereign immunity laws, which essentially protect those in law enforcement from being prosecuted.
“How much is a little girl — how much is a little boy — how much is a person worth?” That is the question Rachael Denhollander is demanding an answer to.
Denhollander says that while her former colleagues, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman, joined together to demand criminal charges against the former head of the FBI in Indianapolis, Jay Abbott, and another special agent who was investigating the Nassar case, she wants Congress to take it a step further.
“What we’ve really done is create a system where they have all of the power, and yet none of the accountability,” said Denhollander. “What we saw yesterday in the FBI hearing is just a blown up picture of what survivors are living every single day. And we’ve got to start grappling with that reality.”
The Watchdog Review recommended criminal charges against Abbott and the agent who supervised the investigation for mishandling the case and then lying about what they had done. But federal prosecutors declined to pursue the case.
Senators from both sides of the aisle joined the gymnasts in their testimony on Wednesday, asking why the Justice Department chose not press charges. But Denhollander says she wants the system to do a 180 and make sure law enforcement can be held accountable for “corruption and gross negligence.”
“Whether or not we’re going to make those changes is what we’re going to have to watch in the next coming year. There’s a lot of ability to do the right thing. The willingness is the question,” she said.