LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages was charged Thursday with lying to police amid an investigation into the school’s handling of sexual abuse complaints against former sports doctor Larry Nassar.
The charges were announced by special independent counsel Bill Forsyth, who was appointed by the state attorney general to investigate the university. If convicted of the felony and misdemeanor counts, Klages could face up to four years in prison.
Klages has denied allegations that former gymnast Larissa Boyce told her that Nassar had abused her in 1997, when Boyce was 16. Boyce had been training with the Spartan youth gymnastics team at the time. Boyce has said Klages dissuaded her from taking the issue further, even after another young gymnast relayed similar allegations.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Klages has a criminal defense lawyer. A message seeking comment Thursday was left with attorneys defending her in civil lawsuits.
Hundreds of girls and women have said they were abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment, including while Nassar worked at Michigan State and Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains U.S. Olympians.
Klages, who resigned in 2017 after she was suspended for defending the now-imprisoned Nassar, is the third person other than Nassar to face criminal charges as a result of the investigations. The former dean of the university’s medical school also was charged and later retired amid the investigation.
Nassar, 55, will be locked up for the rest of his life under criminal sentences imposed after he was convicted of molesting athletes and possessing child pornography. He is at a federal prison in Oklahoma.
Investigators said the crimes were mostly committed in Michigan at a campus clinic, area gyms and his Lansing-area home. Accusers also said he molested them at a gymnastics-training ranch in Texas, where Nassar also faces charges, and at national and international competitions.
Michigan State softball, volleyball, and track and field athletes have also said they told a coach and trainers about Nassar’s inappropriate behavior. The dean of the university’s medical school was also forced to