MSU gymnastics coach linked to abuse complaints retires

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State women’s gymnastics coach Kathie Klages announced she was retiring immediately Tuesday, a day after the school announced her suspension.

Klages had been a coach for nearly 30 years. Her name surfaced in lawsuits by female athletes who accuse Michigan State sports doctor Larry Nassar of sexually abusing them during treatments. He denies it.

Larry Nassar
A Nov. 21, 2016 mug shot of Larry Nassar. (Michigan Department of Corrections/WILX)

Klages is accused of downplaying complaints made by two teens in the late 1990s. But athletic director Mark Hollis says he was troubled by Klages’ “passionate defense” of Nassar to members of the gymnastics team during a meeting last September.

Hollis referred to the meeting in a letter to Klages dated Tuesday.

Klages’ attorney, Shirlee Bobryk, says Klages would never put athletes in “harm’s way.” She says Klages is retiring “out of respect to the university and the gymnastics program.”