Former Michigan State gymnastics coach convicted of lying to police in case linked to Nassar

Former Michigan State gymnastics coach convicted of lying to police in case linked to Nassar

A former Michigan State University gymnastics coach was convicted of lying to police after she denied that two teen athletes informed her of sexual abuse by sports doctor Larry Nassar in 1997.

Kathie Klages, 65, was found guilty of felony and misdemeanor charges in a Lansing courthouse on Friday, according to The Detroit News. She is currently facing up to four years in prison and is scheduled for sentencing in mid-April.

Klages was found guilty in the same courthouse where Nassar was sentenced more than two years ago after more than 150 women and girls offered statements describing abuse at the hands of the athletic doctor.

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A former dean of Michigan State University who oversaw Nassar was also sentenced to prison last year after being convicted of neglect of duty and misconduct.

"I am glad that the enablers are being held accountable, and I hope that it's showing the world that we've got to do better," said Larissa Boyce, a woman who testified against Klages, according to the AP. "Sexual assault needs to be taken seriously."

Klages resigned as a coach in 2017 after she was suspended for defending Nassar when his scandal became public. She claimed that she was not informed about the abuse by one of the teens and that she was "shocked" to find out Nassar's allegations.

"I have no recollection of the conversation," Klages said, according to the AP. Under cross-examination, she said: "I would think that I would remember something like that. I would think I would."

Defense attorney Mary Chartier said the jury "got it wrong" and claimed that Klages would not have been found guilty if the case didn't involve Nassar.

Chartier urged the jury to not "rely on the word of two teenage girls from 23 years ago," saying that Klages sent her three children and a granddaughter to be treated by Nassar for years after she was allegedly told of his abuse by the teen witnesses.

"They have absolutely no evidence that even if these comments were made, she remembers them all these years later," Chartier said, according to the AP.

Nassar worked at Michigan State and USA Gymnastics where he trained Olympians. He is serving an effective life sentence for child porn possession and sexually assaulting scores of young women and girls.