Former Michigan State gymnastics coach faces charges tied to Larry Nassar investigation

Yahoo Sports
Kathie Klages retired as head coach of Michigan State gymnastics in February 2017. (AP)
Kathie Klages retired as head coach of Michigan State gymnastics in February 2017. (AP)

Former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages is the latest person to face criminal charges in the aftermath of disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar’s widespread sexual abuse of countless athletes.

Klages was charged with lying to police during the investigation into the university’s handling of sexual abuse complaints against Nassar — a charge that carries up to a four-year prison sentence — according to the Associated Press. Klages had previously denied that she was informed of Nassar’s sexual abuse as early as 1997 by former Spartan Youth Gymnastics participant Larissa Boyce.

Kathie Klages allegedly enabled Larry Nassar

According to Boyce, who was 16 at the time, she informed Klages that Nassar had abused her during an examination of her back injury. Boyce contends that Klages defended Nassar’s actions as part of a routine examination, asked in front of the rest of the team if anybody else had experienced similar abuse, and when one other girl stepped forward, dissuaded them both from elevating their concerns.

It wasn’t until 2016 that two other gymnasts told their story to the Indianapolis Star that Nassar’s sexual abuse came to light. Since then, hundreds of athletes, including a number of the most recognizable names in USA Gymnastics, where Nassar also worked, have come forward to levy similar allegations. Nassar has since been sentenced to the equivalent of a life sentence for his abuse.

Klages joins two others charged in aftermath of Nassar case

In addition to Klages, two others have faced criminal charges in the aftermath of the Nassar case. Former sports medicine trainer Debra Van Horn was charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault for allegedly “acting as a party” during a prolonged tenure working alongside Nassar with USA Gymnastics. Former Michigan State medical school dean William Strampel was ordered to trial on sexual harassment charges discovered during the investigation into Nassar. He retired last month.

Klages denied the allegations upon retiring last year

Klages retired in February 2017 after 27 seasons at the helm of Michigan State’s gymnastics program. “Although she is not a named defendant in an lawsuit, she is extremely distressed by the accusations that have been made about her creating any sort of impediment to gymnasts reporting complaints of criminal sexual conduct or sexually inappropriate behavior,” her attorney said in a statement.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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