Former gymnastics coach at Michigan State gets 90 days in jail for lying to police in sexual abuse case

Aug. 4, 2020
Kathie Klages was convicted of lying in connection with the probe of sexual abuse allegations against MSU doctor Larry Nassar.

Former Michigan State University gymnastics coach Kathie Klages has been sentenced to three months in jail for lying to police in connection with the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

The Lansing State Journal reports that Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Joyce Draganchuk sentenced Klages, 65, to 90 days in jail and 18 months probation after hearing victim impact statements from two women gymnasts who said they told her about Nassar's abuse more than 20 years ago.

The judge said that lying to police rarely results in a sentence with confinement, but Klages' actions not only derailed an investigation, but also retraumatized two victims of sexual assault.

"That emotional impact is far greater and far more serious than the thwarting of a police investigation," Draganchuk said.

One of the gymnasts, who has asked to remain anonymous, said she trusted Klages to protect her.

"She questioned me like I was already in trouble and, instead of offering me advice or protection, she offered me a cold answer," the former gymnast testified. "That answer caused devastation on my entire life."

Larissa Boyce, the other gymnast, said the process of reliving that moment over and over again and being called a liar multiple times caused an "indescribable amount of pain" but she did it because it was the right thing to do.

Klages apologized during the hearing but asserted that she doesn't remember the conversation taking place.

[FROM February 2020: Former gymnastics coach at Michigan State convicted of lying to police in sexual abuse case]

Prosecutors convinced a jury earlier this year 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 Michigan State 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.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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