Former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach dies by suicide after he was charged with human trafficking and intercourse crimes

A former U.S. Olympic Gymnastics coach died by suicide Thursday after he was accused of bodily abusing dozens of his younger feminine athletes and committing at the least one sexual assault, Michigan’s lawyer normal mentioned. John Geddert, 63, was anticipated to show himself in Thursday afternoon.

“My workplace has been notified that the physique of John Geddert was discovered late this afternoon after taking his personal life,” Michigan Lawyer Common Dana Nessel mentioned in a statement. “It is a tragic finish to a tragic story for everybody concerned.”

Michigan State Police mentioned Geddert’s physique was discovered on the relaxation space off an interstate in Clinton County at 3:24 p.m. His loss of life is underneath investigation. 

When requested why Geddert was allowed to show himself in as a substitute of being arrested, a consultant for Nessel’s workplace mentioned that it was “commonplace process” and that they’d “no indication that Geddert supposed to flee or damage himself or others.” 

“We had been involved together with his lawyer and had been assured of his cooperation,” the consultant mentioned.  

Geddert coached the 2012 Olympic crew to a gold medal, and previously owned a USA Gymnastics membership in Michigan. 

Prosecutors filed 24 legal costs towards Geddert on Thursday: 14 counts of human trafficking, compelled labor inflicting damage; six counts of human trafficking of a minor for compelled labor; one depend of continuous legal enterprise; one depend of first-degree legal sexual conduct; one depend of second-degree legal sexual conduct; and one depend of mendacity to a peace officer throughout a violent crime investigation.

In court docket paperwork accompanying the announcement, prosecutors allege that Geddert engaged in “sexual penetration” of a minor between the ages of 13 and 16 in January 2012. He’s additionally accused of participating in “sexual contact” with a minor in the identical age vary throughout the identical time interval. 

John Geddert
John Geddert seen in 2012.

Kathy Willens / AP

In explaining the human trafficking costs, the lawyer normal’s workplace alleged that “Geddert’s remedy of younger gymnasts constitutes human trafficking as he reportedly subjected his athletes to compelled labor or providers underneath excessive circumstances that contributed to them struggling accidents and hurt.”

“Geddert then uncared for these accidents that had been reported to him by the victims and used coercion, intimidation, threats and bodily drive to get them to carry out to the usual he anticipated,” the workplace mentioned.

The workplace additionally alleged that Geddert made “false or deceptive” statements to authorities investigating Larry Nassar, who labored as Geddert’s crew doctor for about 20 years. Nassar, who was convicted of molesting girls at Geddert’s facility, is serving a long time behind bars for little one pornography crimes and molesting younger athletes. The workplace mentioned Geddert’s costs are unrelated to its wider investigation at Michigan State College.

USA Gymnastics mentioned in an announcement that “we had hoped that information of the legal costs being introduced towards John Geddert would result in justice by way of the authorized course of,” including, “With the information of his loss of life by suicide, we share the emotions of shock, and our ideas are with the gymnastics group as they grapple with the advanced feelings of right this moment’s occasions.”

Sarah Klein, a gymnast who mentioned she educated with Geddert for greater than 10 years, mentioned, “John Geddert’s escape from justice by committing suicide is traumatizing past phrases. He tortured and abused little women, myself included, for greater than 30 years and was in a position to cheat justice.”

Klein mentioned in an announcement that Geddert was “a narcissistic abuser,” and mentioned “his suicide is an request for forgiveness that the complete world can now see.” 

“As a survivor and a mom of two younger women, my solely consolation is within the data that I can relaxation my head on the pillow each evening understanding that John Geddert won’t ever terrorize and abuse one other little one,” she added. 

Costanza Maio and Erica Scott contributed reporting. 

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