A jury convicted former Michigan State University gymnastics coach Kathie Klages Friday of lying to authorities who were investigating sexual abuse allegations against Larry Nassar.
Klages, a coach at MSU for 27 years, was convicted of two counts of lying to a peace officer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said on Friday. According to prosecutors, she will face a maximum prison term of four years and a fine of up to $10,000 when she is sentenced on April 15.
Klages had previously told investigators she was not aware of Nassar’s abuse before 2016, but prosecutors argued that she knew of the abuse for more than 20 years. Nassar, once a prominent team doctor for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, was sentenced up to 175 years on Michigan state charges of sexual assault, to go along with a sentence of 40 to 125 years in prison on three counts of sexual assault with another 60-year sentence on federal child-pornography charges.
"Ms. Klages knew of Larry Nassar's sexual misconduct but neglected to tell investigators," Nessel said in a statement. "She could and should have acted on complaints about Larry Nassar decades ago. That is a failure on multiple levels, but none is more important than her failure to protect the young women who had the courage to speak up decades ago and the hundreds who became Nassar's victims after that."
During the four-day jury trial, two women testified that they told Klages about Nassar’s abuse in 1997, according to Mary Chartier, Klages’ lawyer. Klages testified that when she was interviewed about the conversation 21 years later, she did not remember it, Chartier said.
Klages retired in 2017 after she was accused of covering up allegations that Nassar was abusing young athletes.
Michigan State has previously offered to spend at least $500 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits with surviving victims of Nassar's sexual abuse, according to the Detroit Free Press.