WASHINGTON: Retired star gymnasts testified before Congress on Tuesday that they were sexually abused by a former USA Gymnastics doctor and recommended a bill that requires tougher sex abuse reporting for Olympic sports.

Jamie Dantzscher, a 2000 Olympic bronze medalist, and three-time national champion rhythmic gymnast Jessica Howard recounted their experiences before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

They told of abuses by Dr. Larry Nassar, who is in jail without bond in Michigan and also faces federal child pornography charges.

“USA Gymnastics failed its most basic responsibility to protect the athletes under its care,” Dantzscher said through tears.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is co-sponsoring a bill that requires groups overseeing Olympic sports to immediately report sex abuse allegations to law enforcement or child welfare authorities.

The bill and proposed changes to the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act come in the aftermath of the sex abuse scandal that led to the resignation of USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny.

Penny is a co-defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by Dantzscher, who has accused Nassar of sexual abuse.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement it “cares deeply” about issues raised in the hearing and backs the bill. It said its officials did not appear at the hearing because of pending litigation.