Former USA Olympics Gymnastics Coach Charged with Sexual Assault Commits Suicide
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed 24 criminal charges against former USA Olympics Gymnastics coach John Geddert on Thursday, accusing him of committing at least one sexual assault and multiple incidents of physical abuse against dozens of his young female athletes.
Geddert, who was expected to turn himself in to authorities Thursday, committed suicide earlier in the afternoon.
“My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life,” Nessel said. “This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved.”
Geddert, 63, of Grand Ledge was the former owner of Twistars USA Gymnastics Club in Lansing. The charges against Geddert are unrelated to Nessel’s investigation into Michigan State University and the only connection between the two is Geddert’s relationship with Larry Nassar and Nassar’s job with MSU.
He faced the following charges:
- 14 counts of human trafficking, forced labor causing injury, a 15-year felony;
- Six counts of human trafficking of a minor for forced labor, a 20-year felony;
- One count of continuing criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony;
- One count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a life offense felony;
- One count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony; and
- One count of lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation, a four-year felony
“These allegations focus around multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple young women. I am grateful for these survivors coming forward to cooperate with our investigation and for bravely sharing their stories,” Nessel said in a statement. “The charges against Mr. Geddert are the result of a great deal of hard work by my investigators and prosecutors, and I would like to express my gratitude for their devoted service, as well as the cooperation and efforts of the Michigan State Police, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office and Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd and his staff. This case has truly been a joint effort by law enforcement and another example of how authorities at multiple levels of government can work together in pursuit of justice.”
According to the Attorney General’s office, Geddert sold his reputation as an Olympic-level coach and promised to unsuspecting parents that he could turn his students into world-class athletes, allowing them to secure college scholarships, the Attorney General’s office alleges. Under the guise of coaching, he reportedly subjected multiple young women to an environment of continued abuse, in which he also neglected advice of medical doctors – except that provided by Larry Nassar, who served for around 20 years as Geddert’s team physician and in-house medical expert at Twistars.
Geddert also made false or misleading statements to authorities investigating Nassar for criminal sexual conduct, according to the Attorney General’s complaint.