Former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach dies by suicide after he was charged with human trafficking and sex 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 very least one sexual assault, Michigan’s legal professional common 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 Legal professional Basic Dana Nessel mentioned in an announcement. “This can be 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 demise is beneath 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 “normal process” and that that they had “no indication that Geddert meant to flee or harm himself or others.” 

“We had been involved together with his legal professional and have 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 felony expenses 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 constant felony enterprise; one depend of first-degree felony sexual conduct; one depend of second-degree felony 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 partaking in “sexual contact” with a minor in the identical age vary throughout the identical time interval. 

In explaining the human trafficking expenses, the legal professional common’s workplace alleged that “Geddert’s therapy of younger gymnasts constitutes human trafficking as he reportedly subjected his athletes to compelled labor or providers beneath excessive situations that contributed to them struggling accidents and hurt.”

“Geddert then uncared for these accidents that have 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 roughly 20 years. Nassar, who was convicted of molesting girls at Geddert’s facility, is serving many years behind bars for youngster pornography crimes and molesting younger athletes. The workplace mentioned Geddert’s expenses are unrelated to its wider investigation at Michigan State College.

USA Gymnastics mentioned in an announcement that “we had hoped that information of the felony expenses being introduced towards John Geddert would result in justice by means of the authorized course of,” including, “With the information of his demise by suicide, we share the emotions of shock, and our ideas are with the gymnastics neighborhood as they grapple with the complicated feelings of in the present day’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 ladies, myself included, for greater than 30 years and was capable of cheat justice.”

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

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

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