Former gymnastics coach at Michigan State convicted of lying to police in sexual abuse case

Feb. 17, 2020
A jury found Kathie Klages guilty of lying to investigators probing sexual abuse allegations against MSU doctor Larry Nassar.

Former Michigan State University gymnastics coach Kathie Klages has been convicted of lying to police in connection with the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

The Lansing State Journal reports that jurors found Klages guilty of one felony and one misdemeanor, both counts of lying to police.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Klages lied during a June 21, 2018, interview with Michigan Attorney General's Office special agents.

During that interview, Klages said she didn't remember two gymnasts telling her in 1997 that Nassar, a former MSU sports medicine doctor who abused hundreds of girls and young women under the guise of medical treatment, had sexually abused them.

Those gymnasts were 14 and 16 at the time and participating in the Spartan Youth gymnastics program, which Klages oversaw.

Larissa Boyce, who was one of those gymnasts, says she can now put the entire situation behind her.

"I feel free, like a weight has been lifted off of me," Boyce told reporters. "I feel vindicated. I feel like, finally, enablers from MSU are being held accountable. Finally justice."

[FROM 2018: Former MSU gymnastics coach charged in connection with sex abuse scandal]

Klages maintained  from the witness stand that she didn't learn about Nassar's abuse until the Indianapolis Star reported the sexual assault allegations in 2016. 

She also continued to deny any memory of the 1997 conversation.

Boyce and the other former gymnast, who has asked to remain anonymous, both testified that Klages was dismissive of their complaints and brought other gymnasts through to dissuade them, making them feel embarrassed, humiliated and like they were doing something wrong.

MSU is paying for Klages' defense because of the university's indemnification policy. As of invoices received through December 2019, the school had paid $565,577.91 in legal fees for the case.

[RELATED: Former doctor at Michigan State gets long prison term for sexually abusing gymnasts]

Klages is the second former MSU employee with ties to Nassar to be found guilty of criminal charges.

Last year, a jury convicted former College of Osteopathic Medicine dean William Strampel of misconduct in office related to his treatment of women and of willful neglect of duty related to his failure to supervise Nassar after a 2014 sexual assault investigation.

Strampel is serving a one-year sentence in Ingham County jail.


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