John Geddert: US gymnastics coach kills himself hours after being charged with sex crimes

Oliver O'Connell
·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Police have found the body of a former US gymnastics coach affiliated with disgraced doctor Larry Nassar, just hours after he was charged with human trafficking and criminal sexual conduct.

John Geddert died by suicide according to a spokesperson for Michigan’s attorney general. A statement from AG Dana Nessel reads: “My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved.”

Geddert had agreed to surrender at a sheriff’s office on Thursday afternoon ahead of a 2.15pm arraignment but did not show up.

As a coach, he led the US women’s gymnastics team at the London 2012 Olympics. Nassar was the team doctor.

Earlier today, Geddert was charged with 24 crimes including sexual assault, human trafficking, and running a criminal enterprise.

“These allegations focus around multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple young women,” Nessel said on Thursday in an earlier statement.

“I am grateful for these survivors coming forward to cooperate with our investigation and for bravely sharing their stories.”

His victims have not been identified.

The former coach was also accused of recruiting young people into forced labour, pushing them to perform at a high standard and using threats and coercion to get them to keep delivering — even when injured.

Geddert taught future Olympians at his Twistars gym near Lansing, Michigan. He allegedly neglected the advice of doctors, except that provided by Nassar, who served for two decades as team physician and in-house medical expert at the gym.

Nassar sexually assaulted dozens of minor gymnasts on his training table as far back as the late 1980s, according to the accounts of multiple women. He pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 10 minors in 2018 and is serving up to 175 years in prison.

Geddert is the fifth person to face criminal charges stemming from the Nassar case. Former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny was arrested on evidence tampering charges in 2018.

Former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon, former medical school dean William Strampel and former gymnastics coach Kathie Klages were all charged with crimes.

Strampel served eight months of a one-year prison sentence before he was released last spring. Klages was found guilty of lying to police in August 2020 and sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Charges against Simon were dismissed in May 2020, but the Attorney General’s office is appealing that decision.

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