The head coach of the gold-medal winning 2012 U.S. Women’s Olympic gymnastics team is dead. 63-year-old John Geddert committed suicide after an indictment in Michigan charged him with offenses ranging from sexual assault to human trafficking and forced labor. The documents were filed in Eaton County, MI court on Feb. 25, and later that afternoon, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed that Geddert’s body had been found after taking his own life, before he was due to turn himself in to authorities.
Geddert had worked with imprisoned former U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who is doing 40-175 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2017 to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The doctor had been accused by over 200 young female gymnasts — including gold medal winners like Ali Raisman — of horrific sexual abuse. We’ve got five things to know about John Geddert.
— Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (@MIAttyGen) February 25, 2021
John Geddert seen coaching Jordyn Wieber during the American Cup gymnastics meet in New York on March 3, 2012. Photo credit: AP
John faced a litany of felony charges
He was charged by the state of Michigan with 14 counts of human trafficking — forced labor causing injury, six counts of human trafficking of a minor for forced labor, one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, one count criminal enterprise-racketeering and one count of lying to a police officer. The first 20 counts carried a maximum 35 year prison sentence, while the criminal enterprise carried a 20 year sentence, first degree sexual assault a possible life term, and a maximum 15 years in prison for the second-degree sexual assault if found guilty on the charges.
The charging documents in the case against former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert. Courtesy: State of Michigan Attorney General’s office.
John had longtime ties to imprisoned Dr. Larry Nassar
In 1996, Geddert founded the Twistars USA Gymnastics Club in Dimondale, MI. Nassar worked out of the club’s back room to “treat” young female gymnasts, where he instead allegedly molested and sexually abused the girls.
Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman claimed Geddert was aware of Nassar’s alleged abuse, but did nothing about it
“We would talk about it amongst ourselves,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a 2018 interview. “And one of my teammates described in graphic detail what Nasser had done to her the night before. And John Geddert was in the car with us and he just didn’t say anything.” Aly added, “I don’t know what he (Geddert) did or didn’t do from there. I know he didn’t ask us any questions, but that is just why we need the full, independent investigation to get to the bottom of who knew about this.” Over 200 girls and women came forward to accuse Nassar of abuse in 2017 when the story broke. Ali has since spoken out via Twitter about the Geddert situation and the gymnastics sexual abuse scandal:
John coaching U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber at the 2012 London Summer Olympics on July 29, 2012. Photo credit: AP.
John was accused of having an abusive and threatening coaching style
Lindsey Lemke trained at Twistars before joining Michigan State University’s gymnastics team. In a Jan. 2018 news conference after Nassar’s sentencing, she said “He was abusive. He deserves to be in jail with Larry.” At the time Geddert had been investigated twice by police for reports of physical assault. Other gymnasts accused John of injuring them. Makayla Thrush said that he he pushed her against a training apparatus, causing her to tear muscles in her stomach which ended her gymnastics career. “You told me to kill myself not just once, but many other times,” Thrush said about her coach. “After you ended my career, I tried.”
John was the head coach for the gold medal winning London 2012 Olympics women’s gymnastics team
The “Fab Five” consisted of Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber. All five later came forward as survivors of Dr. Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse.