Court Finds Coach Lied About Hearing of Gymnasts' Abuse

Two women say they told Kathie Klages about Larry Nassar when they were 14 and 16
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2020 5:00 PM CST
Court Finds Coach Lied About Knowing of Gymnasts' Abuse
Former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages testifies Friday in Lansing, Michigan.   (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP)

A former college coach was found guilty in a Michigan court on Friday of lying to police about what she knew of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of gymnasts. Prosecutors said Kathie Klages lied to Michigan Attorney General's Office investigators in 2018, saying she didn't remember two teenage gymnasts telling her in 1997 that Nassar was abusing them while treating their injuries. Nassar was a sports doctor at Michigan State University who, authorities say, abused more than 300 girls and women. The gymnasts said they told Klages what Nassar was doing to them when they were 14 and 16 and attending a youth program but received no help, the Lansing State Journal reports. Instead, the MSU coach had other gymnasts try to talk them out of accusing Nassar, embarrassing and humiliating them. Klages knew the athletes' dream was to become gymnasts at MSU, a prosecutor said, "and she uses it against them."

Klages maintained that she didn't remember a conversation with the gymnasts and that it was another 20 years before she learned of any accusations against Nassar. She said it never crossed her mind that Nassar, who is in prison now, could be abusing her gymnasts. "I thought Dr. Nassar was a very good doctor," she said. A prosecutors said Klages lied to protect her reputation and her school's. One of the counts she was convicted of is a felony, for which she could be sentenced to four years in prison. Klages is one of at least 14 representatives of MSU who was told of Nassar's abuse over two decades, per the Detroit News. (More Larry Nassar stories.)

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