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Former MSU Gymnastics coach sentenced to 90 days in jail plus probation

Posted at 10:45 AM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 22:39:52-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP/FOX 17) — A former Michigan State University head gymnastics coach has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for lying to police during an investigation into ex-Olympic and university sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Sixty-five-year-old Kathie Klages was found guilty by a jury in February of a felony and a misdemeanor for denying she knew of Nassar’s abuse prior to 2016 when survivors started to come forward publicly.

She also was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months probation.

Klages served as MSU’s head gymnastics coach for 27 years and retired in 2017 after being accused of covering up allegations involving Nassar.

FOX 17 spoke with Larissa Boyce, one of two women to give victim impact statements in Ingham County Court Tuesday.

In her impact statement, Boyce said, " I am standing here representing my 16-year-old self who was silenced and humiliated 23 years ago.”

Boyce said that she told Klages about Nassar's abusive treatments in back 1997 when she was a gymnast at MSU's youth gymnastics program.

Also in her impact statement, Boyce said, "I had truly had prayed and hoped that Kathie would own up to and admit her mistake of believing a pedophile, instead of two children at 23 years ago, but that did not happen.”

Even though Klages could have spent up to 17 months behind bars, Boyce said that she is at peace with the ruling.

"Honestly, I as trying not to expect anything. I was going into it thinking and preparing myself for 'whatever happens, happens' knowing that I did what I was supposed to do by testifying and telling the truth of what happened," she said.

Klages said in a tearful statement that she did not remember being told about abuse and apologized to victims if the conversations occurred.

She said in court, "If it did occur and I responded the way they say I did, I am truly horrified and I am so sorry.”

It was a moment Boyce said was painful to watch.

She said, "That was difficult. It was hard to see her crying. I hope that she was truly sincere about what she was saying. I can’t judge that, but I truly hope that she was sincere about what she was saying.”

Boyce went on to say that both Nassar and Klages are part of a much bigger problem: institutions like USA Gymnastics and MSU ignoring sexual assault.

“When people own up to it, face it head on, acknowledge it, then they can be a bigger difference in the world rather than trying to cover-up, cover-up, cover-up,”
Boyce said.

It’s a big problem to tackle, but one she thinks can start right now, little by little.

Boyce said, "My biggest dream and goal moving forward is to open a healing center for survivors of sexual assault; a place where people can go to receive alternative therapy - equine therapy, yoga therapy, just sitting out on a beach somewhere just being themselves.”

For Boyce, this is the final step in putting the years-long cycle of trials, meetings, and courtrooms in the rearview mirror.

"Focus on each other, and focus on our family, focus on healing and moving forward," she said.

Attorney's for Klages went to great lengths to try to keep her from serving jail-time, citing COVID-19 concerns, but Judge Joyce Draganchuk said she was satisfied with conditions and cleaning procedures at the Ingham County Jail.

Klages is the second person other than Nassar to be convicted of charges related to his serial molestation of young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.

Read more on Klages' case here and here.