Former Michigan State University gymnastics coach Kathie Klages was found guilty on Friday of lying to police about whether two teenage gymnasts told her in 1997 that then-doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused them.
Ms. Klages knew of Larry Nassar’s sexual misconduct but neglected to tell investigators. She could and should have acted on complaints about Larry Nassar decades ago. pic.twitter.com/dB539bU5qk
— Michigan Attorney General (@MIAttyGen) February 14, 2020
The defendant testified that she didn’t recall the conversation, according to WILX. She said she didn’t remember one of the girls, Larissa Boyce, who was 16 at the time. The other gymnast was 14.
Hundreds of people (mostly women and girls) have stepped forward saying that Nassar, a former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor, sexually abused them. His M.O. was that he committed sexual assault during what were supposed to be legitimate examinations. The 56-year-old inmate is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars after being sentenced in state court for sexual assault, and federal court for possession of child pornography.
A common refrain in this case was how much his colleagues knew about the allegations as the years went back. The claims only publicly surfaced in 2016, but MSU and USA Gymnastics have faced constant criticism for an alleged inaction.
Some like, Klages, were accused of going out of their way to cover it up. Assistant Attorney General William Rollstin told jurors at closing arguments on Friday that the defendant dismissed the girls’ complaints, and went out of her way to make them feel like they had done something wrong.
“What they have is a dream [to become gymnasts at MSU],” he said, according to The Lansing State Journal. “And Kathie Klages knows it, and she uses it against them.”
Authorities said Klages lied when cops asked her about the Nassar case two decades later.
The defense maintained that the state has no evidence that Klages remembered the alleged comments from 1997. The defendant even sent her own kids and a grandchild to Nassar–a work friend–for treatment, said the defense. Defense lawyer Mary Chartier argued that this should raise reasonable doubt, because one would have to think she was a “monster to do that.” Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said that jurors don’t have to see Klages as a monster. The case was about how she interpreted Nassar’s treatment.
Sentencing is set for April 15.
[Screengrab via Click on Detroit]