Former U.S. gymnastics coach dies by suicide after being charged with illegal sexual conduct and human trafficking

by Jenny Mount · Feb 25th, 2021 4:23 pm
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Last Updated Feb 26th, 2021 at 1:08 pm

A former U.S. gymnastics coach died by suicide just hours after being charged with two dozen criminal offenses, including illegal sexual conduct and human trafficking.

Police found the body of John Geddert, 63, in Grand Ledge, Michigan, on Thursday.

According to a Michigan state criminal complaint, Geddert had been charged with 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor resulting in injury, one count of racketeering, two counts of criminal sexual conduct, and one count of lying to police.

In regards to the two criminal sexual conduct counts, Geddert had been accused of "sexual penetration" of a girl under 16 in January 2012.

"John Geddert used force, fraud, and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him," said state Attorney General Dana Nessel. "The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and self-harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault. Many of these victims still carry these scars from his behavior to this day."

The disgraced doctor Larry Nassar has been publicly accused by several gymnasts of sexually abusing them at Geddert's Twistars gym in Dimondale, Michigan.

Nassar is currently serving up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2018 to sexually abusing 10 minors. The charge related to lying to police is tied to Geddert's knowledge of Nassar's crimes.

"Mr. Geddert knew that Nassar was sexually abusing these patients and that he failed to take action," said Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark. "And that when he was asked about it by police officers during the 2016 investigation into Nassar, he lied about that."

Geddert had been scheduled to surrender to Eaton County Sheriff's deputies on Thursday morning, but never arrived.

This story has been updated to reflect breaking news.


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