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Photos (left to right): Maggie Nichols by Donald Miralle/Sports Illustrated; Simone Biles by Jamie Squire; Aly Raisman by Alex Livesey; and McKayla Maroney by Tim Clayton/Corbis; all via Getty Images

Elite gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols will testify on the FBI's handling of the Larry Nassar investigation before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

Why it matters: Nassar, the former Olympic Team USA gymnastics doctor, was sentenced to 40–175 years in prison in 2018 after over 160 women accused him of sexual abuse under the premise of medical treatment. The hearing follows a recent report documenting the FBI's failures to properly investigate allegations, which "enabled the continued abuse of dozens of additional victims," per a release from the committee.

  • The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General released the report in July, detailing the FBI's misconduct in disregarding allegations and later making false statements to cover up their tracks.
  • "At least 40 girls and women said they were molested over a 14-month period while the FBI was aware of other sexual abuse allegations involving Nassar," AP reports.
  • FBI Director Chris Wray and Inspector General Michael Horowitz will also testify on Wednesday.

Don't forget: The four athletes were among the first to raise the alarm about Nassar's predatory behavior.

  • Nichols, later revealed as the "Athlete A" named in the investigations, was the first to report the abuse and has criticized USA Gymnastics for failing to act faster, per NBC News.
  • "Abuse goes way beyond the moment, often haunting survivors for the rest of their lives," Raisman said in her testimony at Nassar's sentencing. "It is all the more devastating when such abuse comes at the hand of such a highly regarded doctor since it leaves survivors questioning the organizations and even the medical profession itself upon which so many rely."
  • Biles has said the abuse led her into a deep depression and likely affected her mental health at the Tokyo Olympics, where she withdrew from multiple events.

The big picture: USA Gymnastics has proposed a $425 million settlement between the organization and Nassar's victims — almost five years after the first public allegations against Nassar and three years after USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy, according to CNN.

  • Some gymnasts' lawyers have called for separate action against the FBI, per WSJ.

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts to pay $2.5M in abuse settlement

A scout receives a blue Eagle Scout neckerchief during a ceremony. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

The Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts will pay $2.5 million as part of what's believed to be the largest settlement of child sex abuse claims in U.S. history, its CEO Matt Hill told Axios.

  • Sexual abuse was alleged to have occurred under the Mid-Iowa Council's oversight, Hill said. Most of the claims took place prior to 1980, he added.

The big picture: Tens of thousands of people said they were sexually abused by scout leaders or members over decades in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America that ended in an $850 million settlement this year.

Context: The BSA filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020 due to the mounting legal costs associated with multiple sexual abuse lawsuits.

  • The Mid-Iowa Council is among the more than 250 scout councils that'll pay a total of $500 million in cash and properties to compensate victims and help the larger organization financially recover.

Of note: The amount that each local council contributes is based on factors including information in cases filed in the claims process, and how much each could meaningfully contribute while still serving their territory, according to Hill.

  • The Mid-Iowa Council is a legally separate entity from the BSA National Council.

Between the lines: Membership at the Mid-Iowa Council — which provides programs to more than 10,000 kids in 27 counties, including Polk — has dropped about 40% over the last two years. Hill said it's mostly due to the pandemic.

  • National membership has also experienced dramatic declines.
  • No adverse effects to the Mid-Iowa Council's operations are expected because of the settlement, Hill told Jason.

Oversight Board calls for more Facebook transparency

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Facebook Oversight Board on Tuesday called on the social media giant to "commit to transparency" in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report last week that millions of high-profile users get special treatment by content moderators.

Why it matters: Although initially funded by Facebook, the Oversight Board operates independently as a kind of Supreme Court for the platform. The company has agreed to obey its rulings on specific content disputes, but the board's broader policy advice is strictly on a "recommendation" basis.

Major companies vow to train, hire Afghan refugees arriving in U.S.

Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya. Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Global Citizen

More than 30 major companies have promised to hire and train Afghan refugees coming to the U.S., per a press release from the Tent Partnership for Refugees, the group spearheading the effort.

The big picture: The 33 companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Pfizer and UPS, are joining the Tent Coalition for Afghan Refugees, a coalition founded by Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and CEO of food company Chobani.