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Former MSU gymnastics coach, Kathie Klages, took the stand in her defense

Posted: 12:04 PM, Feb 14, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-14 12:04:15-05
Kathy klages

LANSING, Mich. — Friday marks day three of the Kathie Klages trial, and the day that the former MSU gymnastics coach took the stand.

Klages told the jury that she started Spartan Youth Gymnastics in the early 90's. She said that the group wasn't competitive like Twistars. Her role with them ended in 2000.

Klages said she didn't even remember Larissa Boyce or hearing a claim from her about any abuse from Larry Nassar.

She did admit to knowing the anonymous woman because she was on her daughter's gymnastics squad.

She said that she met Nassar in 1988 and developed a professional friendship.

When the Indy Star article broke about Nassar's abuse, Klages said on the stand that she defended Nassar to her gymnasts. She told the jury that she cried when she read the article. But she also asked her athletes to sign a card in support for Nassar.

She also said that none of her team members told her about any abuse.

She told the court that she does not have any memory issues.

Closing arguments are happening now, and later Friday, there could be a verdict.

On Thursday, the prosecution rested their case against the former MSU Gymnastics Coach.

Klages is charged with lying to police about when she knew about Larry Nassar's sexual misconduct on campus.

Also on Thursday, the defense team had witnesses on the stand that included two of Kathie's children that were in gymnastics.

Earlier in the trial, on Tuesday, Larrisa Boyce and another woman who wished to remain anonymous, testified that they told Kathie Klages they were sexually abused by Nassar in 1997 during the time they participated in Spartan Youth Gymnastics.

Raven Slaght, one of the daughter's of Klages, took the stand for the defense. She said that she knows the anonymous woman.

"We were friendly when we were in club together, " she said. "She very kindly reached out to me when my son was born and sick. Acquaintances more so," she added.

Slaght said she even heard from the woman as recently as 2015.

"It was via Facebook, She just reached out because she had been in my shoes, (she) had a child that was needing some oxygen help and was actually really helpful and supportive."

Slaght said she started gymnastics in 1998. Her older brother Mathew spent 13 years in gymnastics, quitting the sport and Spartan Youth Gymnastics in 1996.

"I didn't know much about life other than training to be an Olympic gymnast," Matthew Klages said. "I was ready to go out and have fun with my friends and be a normal teenager."

Both said they knew Nassar while growing up and even were his patients in the 2000s.

The prosecution asked Slaght, "In the interaction you've had with Dr. Nassar, it was nothing inappropriate, would you agree?"

And Slaght said, "Yes."

Also taking the stand on Thursday was MSU Associate Athletic Director Rick Atkinson. He was the MSU men's gymnastics coach from 1989 until the program ended in 2001.

He ran the Spartan Youth Gymnastics program with Kathie Klages.

Atkinson testified Kathie Klages didn't interact with many of the youth participants.

Atkinson told jurors he didn't meet with youth participants in his office and he would surprised if Kathie Klages did.

He also said Nassar didn't work directly with the group.

"If it was a major injury, we'd call an ambulance. If it wasn't we either excused them and tell them to see their personal physicians or have them work through it I guess. But we didn't have any personnel at all," Atkinson said in court.

The jury is expected to start deliberations sometime Friday.

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