Friday, September 30, 2022

Prosecution rests, former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages' children testify

February 14, 2020

Children of former Michigan State University gymnastics coach Kathie Klages testified on the stand on Feb. 13. Among other witnesses providing testimony during Klages' criminal trial were former colleagues of Klages, specifically MSUs Associate Athletic Director Rick Atkinson.

The prosecution rested Thursday morning in Veterans Memorial Court, marking the second full day of Klages' trial.

Klages is charged with two counts of lying to a peace officer during the investigation into MSU's handling of Larry Nassar's abuse of numerous women and girls during his tenure at MSU and USA Gymnastics. These charges stem from her denying knowledge of Nassar's abuse prior to the 2016 investigation.

Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in a Michigan state prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault against minors and 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. The attorney general's office opened an investigation into MSU after Nassar's sentencing in 2018, which led to Klages' charges.

Co-founder of Spartan Youth Gymnastics Rick Atkinson took the stand

Atkinson, former coach of MSU men's gymnastics, said he co-founded Spartan Youth Gymnastics with Klages as a means for fundraising.

As a colleague of Klages', Atkinson testified that he was not aware of any concerns regarding Nassar in 1997.

On Feb. 11, Larissa Boyce, a survivor of Nassar's abuse, testified that she told Klages she was being sexually assaulted by Nassar in 1997. Boyce, now 39, was a gymnast involved in the Spartan Youth Gymnastics program at the time.

An unnamed witness also testified that she told Klages about Nassar's abuse.

Boyce said Klages told her that if she reported the abuse there were going to be "very serious consequences" for Boyce and Nassar.

Klages' son and daughter said multiple members of their family were treated by Nassar after 1997

The defense called upon various witnesses Thursday, including Klages' children, Raven Slaght and Matthew Ross Klages.

Matthew Klages, 39, said he was a gymnast at Spartan Youth Gymnastics between 1992-1996. He said he had known Nassar from around the age of seven and had been treated by him in the past.

"In 2007, I broke my foot and went to see him," Matthew Klages said.

Takura Nyamfukudza, Klages' defense attorney, noted that this was 10 years after 1997.

Matthew Klages also said he had taken his daughter to see Nassar in 2010 when she was two years old.

Nyamfukudza asked if his mother, Kathie Klages, had ever asked if Nassar had done "anything inappropriate" to him. He said no.

Slaght said she also participated in Spartan Youth Gymnastics and had been treated by Nassar for various injuries, including her shin, ankle, foot and lower back, between 2001 and 2013.

Nyamfukudza continued to highlight that her treatment was after 1997.

Support student media! Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.

Slaght said there was nothing inappropriate about her treatment with Nassar.

Klages' trial is set to continue in Veterans Memorial Court Feb. 14 at 8:30 a.m.

Jack Falinski and Kaishi Chhabra contributed to this article.


Share and discuss “Prosecution rests, former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages' children testify ” on social media.