Former USA Gymnastics Coach Faced With 24 Criminal Charges Dies by Suicide
Image credited to the Lansing State Journal
LANSING - John Geddert, former USA Olympics gymnastics coach and former owner of Lansing-area Twistars USA Gymnastics Club, died by suicide today. Geddert had 24 criminal charges filed against him by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office.
Nessel issued the following statement after learning from authorities of Geddert's death.
"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."
According to a Michigan Department of Attorney General press release today, Nessel’s office accused him of committing at least one sexual assault and multiple incidents of physical abuse against dozens of his young female athletes.
“These allegations focus around multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple young women," Nessel said. "I am grateful for these survivors coming forward to cooperate with our investigation and for bravely sharing their stories.”
Charges filed against Geddert include 14 counts of human trafficking, forced labor causing injury, which is 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.
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. He was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:15 p.m. today in Eaton County District Court 56A before Judge Julie O’Neill.
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, the press release said.
“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,” Nessel said. “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.”
Geddert sold his reputation as an Olympic-level coach and promised unsuspecting parents that he could turn his students into world-class athletes, allowing them to secure college scholarships, the Attorney General’s office alleges.
The press release said under the guise of coaching, he reportedly subjected multiple young women to an environment of continued abuse, in which he also neglected advice from medical doctors – except that of 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.
The charges against Geddert are unrelated to the Attorney General’s investigation into Michigan State University (MSU), and the only connection between the two is Geddert’s relationship with Nassar and the latter’s employment with MSU, the press release said.