Former USA Gymnastics Coach Charged With Abuse Dies By Suicide

Former USA Gymnastics coach John Geddert seen above during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Former USA Gymnastics coach John Geddert seen above during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

A former USA Gymnastics coach charged Thursday morning with two dozen criminal charges, died by suicide hours later, the Michigan state attorney general confirmed.

John Geddert, 63, was accused of human trafficking, forced labor and sexual misconduct, among other crimes.

In a statement Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said: "My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved."

Geddert served as head coach for the 2012 U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics team that took home the team gold medal in London. He also owned a Lansing, Mich.,-area elite training facility called Twistars.

Nessel announced the charges at a Thursday afternoon press briefing. She said the charges brought by her office focused on "multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple victims."

Nessel declined to give a specific number of victims other than to say the figure was "less than 50 and they are all minors."

The charges against Geddert were as follows:

The charges were filed in Eaton County, which includes part of Lansing. Nessel told reporters Geddert had turned himself in for arraignment.

"These allegations focus around multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple young women. I am grateful for these survivors coming forward to cooperate with our investigation and for bravely sharing their stories," Nessel said.

The indictment alleges that Geddert's harsh treatment of his athletes constituted human trafficking and forced labor.

Geddert had been a renowned figure in elite gymnastics for coaching the so-called "fierce five" line-up on the 2012 women's team that included McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber, Michigan Radio reports.

The station adds that Geddert was also known for his close relationship with Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team physician who was convicted of dozens of cases of sexual abuse. The two were friends and business associates and three of Nassar's sexual assault convictions occurred at Twistars.

USA Gymnastics listed Geddert among suspended and restricted persons "pending resolution." The entry for Geddert says "membership suspended/suspended from all contact."

Geddert was suspended by USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal, according to The Associated Press. The AP adds that he informed families that he was retiring in 2018.


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