Former Michigan State gymnastics coach faces charges tied to Larry Nassar investigation

Former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages is the latest person to face criminal charges in the aftermath of disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar’s widespread sexual abuse of countless athletes.

Klages was charged with lying to police during the investigation into the university’s handling of sexual abuse complaints against Nassar — a charge that carries up to a four-year prison sentence — according to the Associated Press. Klages had previously denied that she was informed of Nassar’s sexual abuse as early as 1997 by former Spartan Youth Gymnastics participant Larissa Boyce.

Kathie Klages allegedly enabled Larry Nassar

According to Boyce, who was 16 at the time, she informed Klages that Nassar had abused her during an examination of her back injury. Boyce contends that Klages defended Nassar’s actions as part of a routine examination, asked in front of the rest of the team if anybody else had experienced similar abuse, and when one other girl stepped forward, dissuaded them both from elevating their concerns.

It wasn’t until 2016 that two other gymnasts told their story to the Indianapolis Star that Nassar’s sexual abuse came to light. Since then, hundreds of athletes, including a number of the most recognizable names in USA Gymnastics, where Nassar also worked, have come forward to levy similar allegations. Nassar has since been sentenced to the equivalent of a life sentence for his abuse.

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Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics doctor, in court
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Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics doctor, in court
Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, stands during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, stands with his legal team during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, stands with his legal team during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar,a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, listens as Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis speaks at his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 16: Larry Nassar listens to victim impact statements prior to being sentenced after being accused of molesting about 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 16, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Victim and former gymnast Aly Raisman speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, (L) a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, sits in the courtroom during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, arrives in the courtroom during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: Larry Nassar appears in court to listen to victim impact statements during his sentencing hearing after being accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: Larry Nassar listens to victim impact statements during his sentencing hearing after being accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 16: Larry Nassar listens to victim impact statements prior to being sentenced after being accused of molesting about 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 16, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 16: Larry Nassar listens to victim impact statements prior to being sentenced after being accused of molesting about 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 16, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 16: Larry Nassar appears in court to listen to victim impact statements prior to being sentenced after being accused of molesting about 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 16, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 16: Larry Nassar appears in court to listen to victim impact statements prior to being sentenced after being accused of molesting about 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 16, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is seen in the 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Asst. Michigan Attorney General Angela M. Povilaitis (L) speaks during the hearing of former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listen with (2nd R) defense attorneys Shannon Smith (2nd L) and Matt Newberg (R) in 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar watches a video his interview with the police in the 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar (C) with defense attorneys Shannon Smith (L) and Matt Newberg (R) in the 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is seen in the 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is seen in the 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is seen in the 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is seen in the 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is seen in the 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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Klages joins two others charged in aftermath of Nassar case

In addition to Klages, two others have faced criminal charges in the aftermath of the Nassar case. Former sports medicine trainer Debra Van Horn was charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault for allegedly “acting as a party” during a prolonged tenure working alongside Nassar with USA Gymnastics. Former Michigan State medical school dean William Strampel was ordered to trial on sexual harassment charges discovered during the investigation into Nassar. He retired last month.

Klages denied the allegations upon retiring last year

Klages retired in February 2017 after 27 seasons at the helm of Michigan State’s gymnastics program. “Although she is not a named defendant in an lawsuit, she is extremely distressed by the accusations that have been made about her creating any sort of impediment to gymnasts reporting complaints of criminal sexual conduct or sexually inappropriate behavior,” her attorney said in a statement.

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Key names in the Nassar sexual abuse case fallout
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Key names in the Nassar sexual abuse case fallout

Former doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for the sexual abuse he committed on over 150 gymnasts.

(Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

MSU president Lou Anna Simon announced her resignation on January 24. 

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

MSU athletic director Mark Hollis resigned on January 26.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun called for the entirety of the USA Gymnastics board to step down. 

(Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)

Head basketball coach Tom Izzo is under scrutiny after several of his former players have been accused of sexual misconduct while at MSU. 

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Head football coach Mark Dantonio called claims that he mishandled sexual assault allegations as "completely false."

(Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Former Michigan State University gymnastics head coach Kathie Klages

(Sundeep Dhanjal/The State News via AP File)

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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