Ex-U.S. Gymnastics Coach John Geddert Dies by Suicide Hours After Sex-Crime Charges

John Geddert, a former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach who had ties to convicted serial rapist Larry Nassar, has been found dead after he was charged with 24 felonies in connection with the abuse of young gymnasts.

On Thursday, hours after revealing Geddert’s charges, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that the coach had died by suicide. Geddert had been expected to turn himself in and be arraigned on Thursday afternoon.

"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," Nessel said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Geddert— who coached the 2012 U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team — was 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.

Per Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark, the count of lying to a police officer stemmed from her office's investigation into Nassar, a former gymnastics physician, who in 2018 was sentenced to up to 175 years for abuse.

"What needs to be reported is that these charges against Mr. Geddert are for his actions and his actions alone. They have very little to do with Mr. Nassar," Hagaman-Clark clarified. "Counts 1-20 that relate to human trafficking are for his behavior in the gym related to his coaching."

If convicted on all counts, Geddert was facing life in prison.

Geddert was the former owner of Twistars Gymnastics Club, one of the places where Nassar had admitted to sexually abusing young female athletes. Twistars has since been sold and renamed.

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

"It is alleged that John Geddert used force, fraud, and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training, for financial benefit to him," Nessel added. "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."

Additionally, a press release from Nessel's office said Geddert engaged in verbal, physical and sexual abuse against multiple young women.

According to a copy of the complaint obtained by CNN, the alleged offenses stretched from 2008 to 2016.

In a statement issued Thursday, Sarah Klein, who has identified herself as the first to be abused by Nassar, called Geddert's death by suicide an "escape from justice.”

"The bravery of Geddert's many victims will stand for all time in stark contrast to his cowardice," Klein's statement read. "As a survivor and a mother of two young girls, my only comfort is in the knowledge that I can rest my head on the pillow every night knowing that John Geddert will never terrorize and abuse another child."

USA Gymnastics also released a statement on Geddert's death, saying, "This morning, 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 today's events.”

According to TMZ on Friday, the criminal case against Geddert is reportedly “good as dead” as officials will likely not prosecute a deceased person.

However, the outlet adds that Geddert’s alleged victims may still sue his estate in civil court.


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