A collegiate gynmast who says she was abused by convicted pedophile and former doctor Larry Nassar has further stated that he coach warned her against speaking out about the abuse and even threatened the security of her school scholarship.
Lindsey Lemke, who was on the gymnastics team at Michigan State University, told ABC’s 20/20 that her coach, Kathie Klages, pressured her and her teammates into remaining silent when the Nassar scandal first broke in September 2016.
With her mother at Christy, by her side, she said that Klages characterized Nassar’s abuse as ‘a legal medical procedure’.
She recalled a team meeting Klages called during which the coach referred to then then-allegations against Nassar as ‘bull c***’ and warned the team against speaking to media outlets about the developing case.
Later, Lindsey says, Klages even asked her team to sign a card for Nassar to let him know ‘that we’re thinking of him and praying for him’.
Lindsey, who was among the 150 women who confronted Nassar during his sentencing in a Michigan courtroom, eventually told her mother about Nassar’s conduct toward her.
Lindsey Lemke, a former gymnast at Michigan State University, is one of the 150 women who spoke at disgraced pedophile doctor Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing. She is pictured at a rally on MSU’s campus on Friday, January 26 to protest the school’s handling of allegations against Nassar
She is pictured at the hearing comforting her mother, Christy. Nassar has been sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in jail for his pervasive sexual abuse of minors
Lemke says her coach, Kathie Klages (left), pressured her into not discussing her abuse at the hands of Nassar (right)
She says Nassar sexually abused her for five years, from when she was 12 until she was 17, while he ‘treated’ her for back pain at a training facility in Lansing, Michigan and later in his basement.
Christy apparently called Klages at this point, and the coach said that what Nassar had done was ‘a legal medical procedure’.
Later, Lindsey says, Klages approached her and warned her not to spread ‘false information’ about Nassar.
Klages later even warned, per Lindsey’s recollection: ‘You need to star working harder or else your scholarship is going to be in jeopardy.’
Lindsey’s performance in competitions had not changed.
The former gymnast also confirmed on social media that Team USA coach John Geddert had threatened her following her testimony at Nassar’s sentencing.
Lindsey said that Klages even threatened the security of her scholarship after it came to the latter’s attention that she had spoken about her abuse
She said at the sentencing: ‘Larry, I hope you, [MSU president] Lou Anna Simon, [MSU gymnastics coach] Kathie Klages, [Twistars owner] John Geddert and all of USAG are scared. Because you have pissed off the wrong army of women.’
Fellow former gymnast Dominique Moceanu had tweeted at Lemke: ‘I heard Geddert threatened you after you mentioned him in court… He better be careful!’
‘Yes this is correct, however I was threatened way too many times by him growing up and I have learned that he does not have that control over me,’ Lemke responded.
‘I am so thankful for your support with Geddert needing to be held accountable!!’
Geddert has not publicly commented on the matter.
Klages, who retired in February 2017, said in a statement she was ‘extremely distressed by the accusations that have been made about her creating any sort of impediment to gymnasts reporting complaints of criminal sexual conduct or sexually inappropriate behavior’.
The statement adds: ‘Had [Klages] ever received any information to cast doubt on the appropriateness of that trust in Dr Nassar, she would have reacted immediately to protect her gymnasts.’
Klages was reportedly warned by gymnasts on her team as early as 1997, when two women came to her with their concerns, according to the Lansing State Journal.
The news comes as it was revealed that police investigated a 2014 allegation of assault lodged by Amanda Thomashow but concluded that what Nassar had done was legal, the Lansing State Journal reports.
Klages warned, per Lindsey’s recollection: ‘You need to star working harder or else your scholarship is going to be in jeopardy’
Klages apparently told Lindsey’s mother, when confronted with Nassar’s abuse, that what he had done was ‘a legal medical procedure’
Lindsey Lemke tweeted ‘one down’ after MSU president Lou Anne Simon’s resignation was announced
In an exchange of tweets on Wednesday night (seen above), Lemke revealed that John Geddert had threatened her after she mentioned him in court
Thomashow said he inappropriately touched her breasts and vaginal area and only stopped when she physically removed his hands.
She filed a complaint with the university under Title IX, a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, and spoke with police about the case.
Coach John Geddert has been suspended by USA Gymnastics pending completion of an investigation by the sport governing body
A board of medical professionals convened by the school for the investigation into the potential Title IX violation were, apparently friends of Nassar’s.
The board stated that what Nassar had done was medically legal.
After the conclusion of the Title IX investigation, the university did not share its full report with Thomashow.
She received an abbreviated version, which found that Nassar’s conduct wasn’t sexual in nature and therefore didn’t violate the school’s sexual harassment policy.
But media outlets reported that the full report included mention of Nassar’s failure to explain the ‘invasive, sensitive procedures’ he was using.
Michigan State University’s president, Lou Anna Simon, and athletic director, Mark Hollis, have both resigned amid claims that university officials sought to cover up Nassar’s abuse.
At a January 27 press conference attended by NBC News, Michigan’s attorney general warned: ‘Let’s be very clear. No individual and no department at Michigan State University is off limits.’
The Department of Education is looking into the school’s handling of sexual assault claims.
Larry Nassar was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in jail on multiple charges of sexual assault. He was sentenced in a Michigan court on January 24.
Klages said in a statement she was ‘extremely distressed by the accusations that have been made about her creating any sort of impediment to gymnasts reporting complaints of criminal sexual conduct or sexually inappropriate behavior’