The Former USA Gymnastics Coach Killed Himself After Being Charged With Sex Crimes And Human Trafficking
John Geddert was the owner of Twistars, a gymnastics club in Michigan where dozens of women and girls said they were sexually abused by Larry Nassar.
John Geddert, the 2012 Olympics USA Gymnastics coach, killed himself Thursday, on the same day the Michigan attorney general filed 24 criminal charges alleging he verbally, physically, and sexually abused young female athletes.
The charges against Geddert include 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor, one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, racketeering, and lying to a police officer.
“John Geddert used force, fraud, and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a Thursday news conference.
“The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts, and self-harm,” Nessel said.
According to Nessel, Geddert subjected the gymnasts to “excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even while injured, extreme emotional abuse, and physical abuse, including sexual assault.”
He is also accused of lying to law enforcement about his knowledge of the crimes committed by the former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to up to 175 years behind bars for sexually abusing young athletes.
Geddert was the owner of Twistars, a gymnastics club in Michigan where dozens of women and girls said they were sexually abused by Nassar. Several gymnasts said they had no choice but to see Nassar when they suffered a sports injury.
Geddert, 63, was expected to turn himself in to authorities and be arraigned Thursday afternoon. Instead, his body was found after the charges had been filed.
“This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Nessel said in a statement after his death.
According to Nessel, “Geddert’s treatment of young gymnasts constitutes human trafficking as he reportedly subjected his athletes to forced labor or services under extreme conditions that contributed to them suffering injuries and harm. Geddert then neglected those injuries that were reported to him by the victims and used coercion, intimidation, threats, and physical force to get them to perform to the standard he expected.”
Geddert, who coached the 2012 USA “Fierce Five” in the London Olympics, had been under investigation since February 2018. He was suspended by USA Gymnastics a month earlier.
During Nassar’s sentencing hearings, where more than 150 women delivered victim impact statements, several gymnasts spoke about Geddert’s alleged physical and emotional abuse.
Gymnast Bailey Lorencen said Geddert made her continue practicing after she broke a bone in her back while training.
Former gymnast Makayla Thrush said in court that Geddert pushed her into a low bar, causing career-ending injuries.
“You told me to kill myself not just once, but many other times,” Thrush said of Geddert during Nassar’s sentencing. “After you ended my career, I tried.”