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Witness testifies she told Klages of Nassar abuse in '97

February 12, 2020
<p>Ex-MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages during a status update on March.14, 2019 at Ingham County Circuit Court.</p>

Ex-MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages during a status update on March.14, 2019 at Ingham County Circuit Court.

Photo by CJ Weiss | The State News

Former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages faced her first full day on trial in Veterans Memorial Courthouse Tuesday. Focus was placed on testimony from Michigan State University Police Department Detective Lieutenant Andrea Munford, survivor Larissa Boyce, an unnamed survivor, and David Dwyer, an investigator from the Michigan Attorney General's office.

Klages is charged with two counts of lying to a peace officer during the investigation into MSU's handling of the abuses of disgraced former MSU doctor Larry Nassar. These charges stem from her denying knowledge of Nassar's abuse prior to the 2016 investigation.

Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges and 175 years in a Michigan state prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault against minors. After Nassar was sentenced in 2018 for the abuse of numerous women and girls during his tenure at MSU and USA Gymnastics, the Attorney General's office opened an investigation into MSU, which led to Klages' charges.

Larissa Boyce testified she told Klages about Nassar's abuse in 1997

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.

"I was 16. I didn't want to cause problems," Boyce said. "I wasn't trying to get anybody in trouble. So I just felt defeated."

Boyce said she had wanted to impress Klages. She said she told Klages it was a misunderstanding after Klages told her there would be consequences.

Boyce said the next time she saw Nassar, he told her he had talked to Klages. Boyce said she apologized and told him it was all her fault.

"So I hopped back up on his table and continued to be abused by him," Boyce said.

When reports of Nassar's abuse began circulating in 2016, Boyce reported this incident to Munford.

Klage's defense attorney, Mary Chartier, questioned Boyce about her interview with Munford.

Chartier said there seemed to be differences between Boyce's testimony and her interview with law enforcement. Boyce said when she did the interview with Munford, she wasn't sure what Munford needed to know, but that she was telling the truth about what happened.

The courtroom remained tense as Chartier cross-examined Boyce. Chartier asked the same question multiple times, with objections from the prosecution. Boyce questioned the necessity of Chartier's use of descriptive detail regarding Nassar's abuse.

"I told your client that Larry Nassar was penetrating me, that's what matters. That's why we are here today," Boyce said.

"This isn't Mr. Nassar's sentencing, where you can say whatever you want. You have to answer questions," Chartier replied.

Investigator from the Attorney General's Office recorded Klages without her knowledge

David Dwyer, an investigator from the Attorney General's Office, testified that he recorded an interview with Klages and her attorney without their knowledge. Dwyer said that Klages' attorney told him she preferred not to be recorded, but he said that it was legal for him to do so.

Dwyer said he didn't believe Klages when she told investigators that she didn't remember Boyce and the unnamed survivor disclosing Nassar's sexual abuse.

Dwyer said he based this belief on having two independent, similar statements from Boyce and the witness about their disclosure to Klages, as well as his opinion that Klages had a greater motive to lie for fear of losing her career and respect.

Klages is scheduled to return to court Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

Wells Foster, Maddie Monroe and SaMya Overall contributed to this article.

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