Spartan gymnastics coach is suspended amid sexual assault investigation


UPDATE: 6:36 p.m. – In what may be the latest domino to fall, the first known suspension that could be related to the Larry Nassar case was announced Monday in an email written by MSU Associate Athletic Director Richard Bader.

That e-mail reads in part: “I write this afternoon to update you that Coach Klages was suspended from her coaching duties this morning. While the university does not disclose specific information about personnel actions, I do wish to assure you that the team continues to have our complete support.”

It goes on to say that Mike Rowe will serve as the Interim Head Coach for the remainder of the season.

The circumstances in which Kathie Klages has been suspended is unclear.

What we do know, is that Klages has been named in a federal lawsuit relating to former MSU Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, where more than 30 girls and women have filed complaints alleging Nassar used his hands inappropriately for what he called medical treatments.

Klages has been the MSU Gymnastics coach for nearly 27 years. Larry Nassar served as the team’s doctor for nearly 20.

Nassar is currently behind bars on federal charges of child pornography after police say they found tens of thousands of images at his home in Holt.

Nassar also faces three counts of first degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Ingham County and he’s also the target of at least six civil lawsuits, some of which name MSU as a defendant.

To this day, Nassar has pleaded not guilty to all of his charges and has denied any wrong-doing.

Kathie Klages comes into the picture because one of the plaintiff’s on the federal lawsuit is claiming that she brought concerns to Klages about Nassar’s treatment back in the late 1990’s.

6 News showed you the interview with the woman, who is named in the lawsuit as Jane Doe BMSU, where she told 6 News that Klages defended Nassar by saying she had known him for years and couldn’t believe he would do such a thing.

Here’s what she had to say during the interview on February 7, 2017:

JANE Doe BMSU: “She sat down and she held up a piece of paper and said “I could file this, but there’s going to be very serious consequences for both you and Dr. Nassar.”

REPORTER: “What was your reaction to that? I mean why would you suffer the consequences for receiving medical treatment?

JANE Doe BMSU: “I think the embarrassment is maybe what she was talking about. The fact that she did react that way, I felt like she silenced me that night.”

We’ve reached out to Klages for comment on these allegations for weeks, she has not responded.

An MSU spokesperson did confirm to 6 News that Klages was suspended, but did not say why.

Stay with 6 News, we’ve been following this story for you since the beginning and will continue to update you with any new developments as we get them.

EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – MSU Gymnastics coach Kathie Klages has been suspended as the investigation of sexual abuse tied to former MSU gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar continues.

Just last week one of Nassar’s former patients talked one-on-one with 6 News for an exclusive interview.

Her name in the lawsuit is listed as Jane Doe BMSU, but in everyday life she’s a wife and mother of four kids.

6 News talked with her last Tuesday at her attorney’s office at Church Wyble, a division with Grewal, and she asked that we not show her face or reveal her name.

It wasn’t easy for her to tell her story and she said it wasn’t easy for her two decades ago, either when she brought her concerns to MSU Gymnastics coach Kathie Klages.

She said she’s speaking out to empower and encourage young girls, women, or anyone who believes they may be a victim of Dr. Larry Nassar, to speak up.

“Gymnastics was always my passion,” Jane Doe BMSU said.

For Jane Doe BMSU gymnastics was her life.

“Outside of God and school and gymnastics was like part of my identity,” she said.

Jane Doe BMSU was part of the youth program at MSU, which was run by MSU Gymnastics Coach Kathie Klages.

Jane Doe BMSU was first introduced to Dr. Larry Nassar after she sustained a lower back injury.

She said remembers looking to him as if he was a celebrity because he was highly recommended in the gymnastics community.

“He was really like an idol to all of us young gymnasts because he was the USA Gymnastics Olympic doctor,” Jane Doe BMSU said. “He was like almost like a god to us. Who wouldn’t want to see someone like that.”

She said at the age of 16 or 17. She started to realize the treatment she was receiving from Dr. Nassar wasn’t quite right.

“One of my teammates found out that something was going on or something may be not right was going on with the treatments that he was doing because he would do it when we were at practice,” she said.

She said the issue was brought to coach Klages.

“She just couldn’t believe it,” Jane Doe BMSU said. “I mean, nobody wants to believe that something like that is happening. So I think that’s why she reacted the way she did.”

“She kind of conducted her own investigation and she ended up pulling in girls, different teammates of mine into her office while I was sitting there and asked them if they had experienced anything different with Dr. Nassar,” Jane Doe BMSU said. “She sat down and she held up a piece of paper and said “I could file this but there’s going to be very serious consequences for both you and Dr. Nassar.”

REPORTER: “What was your reaction to that? I mean, why would you suffer consequences for receiving medical treatment?

JANE DOE BMSU:”I think the embarrassment is what she was talking about.”

“The fact that she did react that way, I felt like she silenced me that night. I felt like I must have a dirty mind, I must be messed up for thinking that something inappropriate was happening,” Jane Doe BMSU said.

She said Klages silenced her by scaring her.

“All of these adults were telling me that it was OK and that I was wrong and so i was 16, 17 years old and who am I to question these authority figures,” she said.

“He (Nassar) actually talked to me and said Kathie had talked to him about the situation and that I had concerns and of course I was mortified at that point when he was asking me. I felt betrayed by Kathie. I remember apologizing to him for thinking of it in a way that I shouldn’t have been thinking of it.”

She said for roughly two years, Nassar continued to inappropriately touch her as she sought medical treatment for her back injury.

“I had to put my mind in other places because there were things that would happen that seemed really inappropriate,” Jane Doe BMSU said. “So I would just tell myself “well everybody told me this was a medical treatment. I had to convince myself it was OK in order to survive through it.”

“So many people shoved it under the rug because he was such a prominent doctor,” she said.

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