‘I do not feel closure’: Woman who accused Olympics coach Geddert of sexual assault speaks out after his death

Gustaf Kilander
·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Former gymnast Sarah Klein was relieved when she found out that former Olympics coach John Geddert was facing charges for human trafficking and sexual assault, but has said reports of his suicide following the charges were "devastating".

Speaking to NBC News, Ms Klein claimed Mr Geddert “physically, verbally, emotionally and psychologically abused” her from around 1988 when she was only eight years old.

When the criminal charges were announced on Tuesday, she said it felt like a “full-circle moment".

Calling Mr Geddert's death "traumatising", Ms Klein said he "has always been above the law and the rules have never applied to him”. She told NBC News that she thinks that his suicide was "intended to be an insult to his victims".

The 41-year-old Ms Klein said that she had been waiting for Mr Geddert to be held accountable "for a long time". Mr Geddert had connections to Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University sports doctor.

Mr Nassar was given two prison sentences in the state of Michigan, one of 40 to 125 years and another spanning 40 to 175 years for molesting young female gymnasts, according to The Guardian. He was also given a federal prison sentence of 60 years for convictions relating to child pornography.

Read more: Larry Nassar: Former USA gymnastics doctor sentenced up to 125 years in jail

Prior to his death, Mr Geddert was charged with 24 crimes including sexual assault, human trafficking, and running a criminal enterprise, The Independent reported earlier.

Mr Nassar served as the Olympic team's doctor and treated injured gymnasts at Mr Geddert's gym in Lansing, Michigan.

Ms Klein says she was sexually assaulted by Mr Nassar and saw the two men as enabling each other. Mr Geddert denied any knowledge of Mr Nassar's actions, NBC News writes.

“There would not be a Larry Nassar without John Geddert, and there would not have been a John Geddert without Larry Nassar,” said Ms Klein, now a lawyer based in Philadelphia who represents survivors of sexual abuse.

“I do not feel closure whatsoever,” Ms Klein told NBC News concerning Mr Geddert's death.

In a statement after the death of Mr Geddert, USA Gymnastics said: “We had hoped that news of the criminal charges being brought against John Geddert would lead to justice through the legal process.

“With the news of his death by suicide, we share the feelings of shock, and our thoughts are with the gymnastics community as they grapple with the complex emotions of this week’s events.”

The chief executive of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Sarah Hirshland said in a statement: “It's the voices of the survivors that matter most at this time. They continue to show bravery and strength in the most difficult circumstances."

Ms Klein told NBC News that Mr Geddert “psychologically broke us. He physically hurt us. He shamed us. He terrified us and terrorised us in a way that will affect us for the entirety of our lives".

Police found the body of Mr Geddert just hours after he was charged with human trafficking and criminal sexual conduct.

A statement from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Friday: “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.”

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

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

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