Former US Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert committed suicide Thursday, hours after being charged with two dozen felonies stemming from allegations that he physically, emotionally and sexually abused the gymnasts in his care.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed that Geddert took his own life Thursday afternoon, calling his death “a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved.”
Michigan State Police confirmed that Geddert’s body was found at an interstate highway rest stop at 3:24 p.m. ET.
Geddert, 63, was scheduled to be arraigned in Eaton County, Michigan, on Thursday afternoon.
Michigan state officials charged Geddert with 24 felonies: 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor, one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, racketeering, and lying to a police officer. police. A lawyer for the Michigan Attorney General’s office also said Thursday that Geddert knew that Dr. Larry Nassar, disgraced by Team America, was sexually abusing patients at the gym where both men worked and lied to police during a 2016 investigation on Nassar.
The rest of the charges against Geddert are linked to his own behavior with gymnasts he trained at the gyms he owned in Michigan. Law enforcement began investigating Geddert in February 2018 in the wake of complaints raised about his abusive training style during Nassar’s sentencing hearing.
Court documents released Thursday allege that, among other things, Geddert digitally penetrated a girl who was between 13 and 16 years old in January 2012.
Geddert previously owned Twistars USA Gymnastics in Dimondale, Michigan, outside Lansing, where dozens of women say Nassar sexually assaulted them under the guise of receiving medical treatment. Geddert and Nassar worked side by side for more than a quarter century as they both reached the pinnacle of elite gymnastics.
Geddert has long been viewed within the gymnastics community as one of Nassar’s primary facilitators. Already in the late 1980s, at the Great Lakes Gymnastics Club in Lansing, before even being a licensed physician, Nassar began sexually assaulting minor gymnasts at his training table, according to accounts from several women.
Geddert rose to national fame in the early 2000s and was named the coach of the United States national team for the London 2012 Olympics. His role as national coach led him to travel the world with the best gymnasts in London. U.S. Many of those gymnasts, including all members of the famous Fierce Five who won gold in London, say they were abused by Nassar during his international travels.
Former Olympian McKayla Maroney says she was in a car with Geddert on one of those international trips, in Tokyo during the 2011 World Championships. During the car ride, Maroney gave a graphic description of how Nassar had touched her inappropriately during a treatment session the night before, according to several people who heard her comments. Geddert did not react at the time, according to accounts from passengers in the car, but has since denied listening to Maroney’s comments.
USA Gymnastics suspended Geddert during Nassar’s sentencing hearing in January 2018 amid a spate of public complaints from former gymnasts about his abusive training style. Geddert announced he was stepping down from the coach days after USA Gymnastics suspended him. He transferred ownership of Twistars USA to his wife and training partner in 2018. The gym was sold to new owners earlier this month.
Geddert was the fifth person to face criminal charges stemming from the Nassar case. Former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny was arrested on evidence tampering charges in 2018. In the state of Michigan, where Nassar worked, former President Lou Anna Simon, former dean of William Strampel Medical School and former gymnastics coach Kathie Klages were charged with crimes. Strampel, Nassar’s former boss, was charged with misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty and served eight months of a one-year prison sentence before being released last spring. Klages was found guilty of lying to police in August 2020 and sentenced to 90 days in jail. Charges of lying to police against Simon were dropped in May 2020, but the attorney general’s office is appealing that decision, Nessel said Thursday.
Nassar, 57, is currently serving a 60-year prison sentence on child pornography charges at a federal prison near Orlando, Florida, but also faces an additional maximum of up to 175 years in prison for his sentences on state charges in Ingham. and Eaton. Michigan County. Earlier this month, Nassar appealed his case to the Michigan Supreme Court. Nessel said Thursday that Nassar’s trial court ruling should be upheld, describing it as “a fair and just sentence.”