Former USA gymnastics coach John Geddert dead after trafficking, assault charges filed

Lawrence Kim
February 26, 2021

John Geddert - the coach of the legendary 2012 Team USA gymnastics team - has been charged with multiple counts of human trafficking and sexual assault and faces up to life in prison. "When this Department set out more than three years ago on this investigation, the Trustees stated, 'only a review by your office can resolve the questions in a way that the victims, their families, and the public will deem satisfactory and that will help all those affected by Nassar's terrible crimes to heal.' Yet, if the Board does not consent, my office will be forced to close its investigation without conclusion, and you will have shut the door on the pursuit of justice".

The 63-year-old was charged Thursday in MI. Three of Nassar's sexual assault convictions stem from abuse that took place at the gym, and during Nassar's 2018 sentencing hearing, Geddert was named by several victims as enabling Nassar, ignoring signs of abuse and utilizing his own abusive coaching tactics. Mr. Geddert is being accused of forcing labor from his young charges, causing injury. Only the count of lying to police relates directly to Nassar.

"The victims suffer from disordered eating", Nessel said, "including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault".

The charges against Geddert break down into 14 counts of human trafficking, six counts of human tracking of a minor and single counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, second-degree criminal sexual conduct and lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation.

Nessel said at a news conference that it was her understanding he had turned himself in to law enforcement and would appear at a court arraignment about an hour later.

Geddert was the head coach of the gold medal-winning 2012 U.S. Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team, for which Nassar was the team doctor. They enabled each other's abuse.

Many institutions, including sports national governing bodies, have also argued that they do not have direct responsibility for the child athletes' welfare. Nassar is serving a life sentence in federal prison.

Nassar, 57, is now serving a 60-year prison sentence for child pornography charges at a federal prison near Orlando, Florida, but he also faces an additional maximum of up to 175 years in prison for his sentencings on state charges in Ingham and Eaton County, Michigan.

Much still remains unclear about how he was not stopped sooner.

Geddert and Nassar worked closely for years with the doctor regularly providing treatment at Geddert's Twistars USA Gymnastics facility, located in Dimondale, Mich., near Lansing.

Elite gymnasts have made similar accusations. Geddert told people in 2018 he was retiring from coaching. During the vehicle ride Maroney gave a graphic description of how Nassar had touched her inappropriately during a treatment session the night before, according to multiple people who overheard her remarks.

Former Olympian McKayla Maroney says she was in a auto with Geddert on one such worldwide trip, in Tokyo during the 2011 World Championships. Geddert didn't react at the time, according to the accounts of the passengers in the vehicle but has since denied overhearing Maroney's comments.

The complaint said that Geddert did that involving 15 different victims during various times between 2008 and 2018.

The Justice Department's money-laundering and child-exploitation units and the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C. have also been pursuing wide-ranging criminal investigations into sexual abuse in U.S. Olympic sports organizations, including USA Gymnastics, and into potential financial and business misconduct throughout the U.S. Olympic system.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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