John Geddert, Former U.S. Gymnastics Coach, Dies by Suicide After Human Trafficking Charges

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John Geddert, a former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach has died by suicide after being charged with human trafficking and criminal sexual conduct, among other crimes, the New York Times reports ​​​​​.

A felony complaint was filed on Thursday in Eaton County, Michigan, and Geddert was eventually charged after agreeing to turning himself in. Geddert never showed up for his arraignment, and faced 20 counts of human trafficking—including 14 counts of forced labor resulting in injury and six counts of trafficking a minor—and additional charges for racketeering, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, second-degree criminal sexual assault, and lying to a police officer.

Geddert was the U.S. national team coach for the 2012 London Olympics, and once owned the Lansing, Michigan gymnastics club Twistars—the same gym where former team doctor Larry Nassar sexually assaulted athletes.

The complaint claimed that Geddert had been human trafficking for around 10 years, from 2008 into 2018. The 63-year-old is also accused of criminal sexual conduct associated with a person who was between 13 and 16 years old in January 2012.

Michigan’s attorney general, Dana Nessel announced the charges during a news conference on Thursday, saying the allegations “stemmed from events that occurred in the state of Michigan,” but didn’t divulge how many people were involved in the case. She only said there were “less than 50, and they are all minors.”

“John Geddert used force, fraud and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him,” Nessel told reporters before Geddert’s body was discovered in Grand Ledge, Michigan

“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,” she added. “Many of these victims still carry these scars from his behavior to this day.”

Geddert apparently knew Nassar was sexually abusing athletes andt lied to police during a 2016 probe into Nassar. The rest of Geddert’s charges were connected to his own actions with gymnasts whom he coached at Twistars. Authorities opened an investigation into him in 2018 following complaints about his coaching style at Nassar’s sentencing hearing.

In January 2018, Nassar pled guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.

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