A former USA Gymnastics coach who worked with convicted rapist Dr. Larry Nassar killed himself Thursday, the same day he was hit with 24 charges, including human trafficking and sexual assault.
“Former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert, who led the women’s team to a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, committed suicide Thursday after he was charged with sexual assault and human trafficking in relation to acts that occurred at a Michigan gym he owned and ran for decades,” The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Geddert stood accused of “abuse and forced labor, intimidating them, threatening them and sexually abusing at least one victim by digitally penetrating her when she was between the ages of 13 and 16,” The New York Daily News reports.
Geddert and Nassar, the team’s doctor, worked together for roughly 20 years. In 2018, Nassar was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years and maximum of 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting scores of young girls, including members of the USA Olympic Gymnastic team Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles and others.
At the sentencing, Randall Margraves, whose three daughters were allegedly sexually assaulted by Nassar, stood facing Nassar in the Michigan courtroom. Margarves, whose daughters Lauren and Madison Rae had just finished speaking, plaintively asked the judge if he could have five minutes alone with the “demon” in a locked room. When the judge refused, saying, “You know I can’t do that,” Margraves hurled himself toward Nassar, prompting security officers to restrain him as Margraves cried out, “Let me at that son-of-a-b****!”
Prior to his death, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office issued a statement vis-à-vis Geddert on Thursday saying:
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office has filed 24 criminal charges against John Geddert … Geddert, 63, of Grand Ledge, was expected to turn himself in to authorities today at the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office Substation in Delta Township and was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:15 p.m. today in Eaton County District Court 56A before Judge Julie O’Neill. Charges filed against Geddert include:
- 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
The Attorney General’s office stated:
The Attorney General’s office alleges that 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 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.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told reporters, “The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault.”
After the report of Geddert’s death, Nessel commented, “This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved.”
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