GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – A woman says Michigan State’s women’s gymnastics coach downplayed her concerns about treatments by a sports doctor in the late 1990s and warned that a formal complaint about sexual abuse could have major consequences.
The allegations are in a court document filed Tuesday. The woman wants to join more than 20 females who are suing Dr. Larry Nassar. They say they were assaulted under the guise of treatment.
The woman says Kathie Klages was her coach when she was a teen in a Michigan State youth program. She says Klages told her to see Nassar about back pain.
The woman says Nassar repeatedly molested her. She says Klages told her she couldn’t imagine anything questionable.
An email seeking comment was sent to Klages. Nassar has denied similar allegations by others.
Separately, Nassar is charged with sexually assaulting a girl at his Lansing-area home between 1998 and 2005, from the age of 6 until the girl was 12. He also is charged in federal court with possessing child pornography. He’s locked up without bond.
Nassar was a volunteer doctor for USA Gymnastics and had a clinic at Michigan State. The abuse alleged by the women and girls occurred over 20 years. They ranged in age from 9 to 29 at the time. Most were minors “cloaked with innocence and trust of their youth,” attorney Stephen Drew told reporters.
Many of the women have the same allegations: During the course of Nassar’s treatments, the doctor allegedly inserted “his bare, ungloved and unlubricated hand” into the victim’s vagina, according to the complaint. When one woman reported Nassar’s disturbing “treatments” to the MSU training staff, she was allegedly told that Nassar was a world-renowned doctor and that his “inter‐vaginal adjustments” were legitimate medical treatments.
Michigan State University fired Nassar in September 2016, and USA Gymnastics cut ties in 2015. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs also announced this week that it served an order to immediately suspend Nassar’s license to practice as an osteopathic physician.
Nassar hasn’t been charged with any crimes related to his work at Michigan State. The school has said campus police investigated a complaint against Nassar in 2014 but no charges were filed. It said it received no other complaints until last August. Nassar was subsequently fired for not complying with employment requirements put in place after the 2014 complaint. Michigan State hasn’t elaborated.
Campus police still are investigating Nassar with state and federal authorities. Outside lawyers also are advising the university on an internal review of his work.
Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics said it cut ties with Nassar when it first heard allegations about the doctor. “We find it appalling that anyone would exploit a young athlete or child in this manner,” the organization said in a statement.
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