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Klages' criminal case to move forward after judge hears evidence

Lansing State Journal/WZZM-TV • Sep 27, 2018 at 7:57 PM

LANSING (Lansing State Journal/WZZM-TV) — A judge ruled Thursday that there's enough evidence in the criminal case against former Michigan State University gymnastics coach Kathie Klages for it to move forward.

Klages, 64, of Mason, and formerly of Spring Lake, faces two charges of lying to police about her knowledge of sexual assault complaints against Larry Nassar prior to 2016. One charge is a felony and the other a misdemeanor. Klages faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

The case will now move to Ingham County Circuit Court, where Klages could stand trial.

Klages had been the MSU women's gymnastics coach for 27 years when she retired in February 2017, a day after the university suspended her over concerns with the way she handled a September 2016 team meeting after sexual assault allegations against Nassar were made public.

Her suspension and retirement came amid growing criticism of Klages, the way she handled reports of Nassar's behavior and her defense of Nassar. For instance, she told the mother of a victim that the child pornography found on Nassar's property might have been planted, according to court records.

Klages was charged last month. She became the second former MSU employee charged as part of the state Attorney General's Office investigation of the university's handling of Nassar.

Two women testified during the preliminary hearing in Judge Louise Alderson's courtroom Thursday afternoon that they told Klages in 1997 that Nassar sexually assaulted them. They detailed the meeting with Klages and said the coach discouraged them from reporting, saying it could have serious consequences for them and for Nassar.

David Dwyre, chief of investigations for the Michigan Attorney General's Office, interviewed Klages in June as part of the office's investigation of MSU.

According to the transcript of the interview, portions of which were read during the hearing, Klages either said she didn't remember the disclosures in 1997 or that she wasn't told. Dwyre testified Thursday that he didn't believe Klages when she told him she didn't remember.

Larissa Boyce, now in her 30s, was one of the women who testified Thursday and one of the first to speak publicly about her abuse. She said she told Klages about her abuse in 1997, when she was 16 and a member of the Spartan Youth Gymnastics Program.

Boyce gave victim-impact statements during Nassar's sentencing hearings in Ingham and Eaton counties. During the Ingham County sentencing, Boyce said Klages had "interrogated" her and the other girl.

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