Ex-US Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to Nassar charged

Elias Hubbard
February 26, 2021

Former US Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert is reported to have taken his own life after being charged with 24 counts of criminal misconduct, including human trafficking and sexual assault charges, related to his work with young athletes.

No other details have been released.

According to the charging documents, Geddert injured young athletes through forced labor and recruited them for forced labor.

63-year-old Geddert came under scrutiny because of his close personal and professional relationships with Nassar, the former USA national team doctor sentenced to life in prison over the sexual abuse of many young female gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment.

Geddert, who coached the women's team to a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, had turned himself in earlier this morning, and was due to be arraigned in court shortly before news of his death was announced, USA media outlets reported.

Attorney General Nessel said the coach used "force, fraud and coercion" for financial benefit.

Geddert died by suicide Thursday afternoon, according to Attorney General Dana Nessel's office.

Among the charges, Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar.

John Geddert, with ties to disgraced sport doctor Larry Nassar, was charged with two dozen crimes, including forms of human trafficking, a step that prosecutors acknowledged was an uncommon use of MI law. The victims suffer from disordered eating, include bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and self-harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault.

"Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behaviour to this day", the attorney general said.

Nessel acknowledged that the case might not fit the common understanding of human trafficking. He told families in 2018 that he was retiring.

A personal coach to United States gymnast Jordyn Wieber and owner of the Twistars training facility, Geddert was accused by many Nassar victims of requiring them to be treated by Nassar. He said his Twistars teams had won 130 club championships.

Rachael Denhollander, the first victim to come forward and publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault, tweeted prior to Geddert being found dead, "Geddert's abuse, like so much, was never a secret".

However, in three weeks of sentencing hearings during which some 200 women, girls and victims' family members confronted Nassar by reading victim impact statements, Twistars gymnasts said they had endured physical and verbal abuse by Geddert. "You two sure do have a amusing meaning of friendship. You, John Geddert, also deserve to sit behind bars right next to Larry".

"Mr. Geddert knew that Nassar was sexually abusing his patients and failed to take action", she said. "To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you". Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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