Former Olympic Gymnastics Coach Reportedly Dies by Suicide After Being Charged With Sexual Assault

Illustration for article titled Former Olympic Gymnastics Coach Reportedly Dies by Suicide After Being Charged With Sexual Assault
Image: Jamie Squire (Getty Images)

John Geddert, a gymnastics coach who had a hand in securing the women’s 2012 Olympic gold medal, was charged with 24 counts of criminal misconduct on Thursday, according to the Washington Post. Among the charges were “20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor, a single count of first-degree sexual assault and one count each of second-degree sexual assault, racketeering and lying to a police officer,” the Post reports.

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Geddert was due to turn himself over to authorities Thursday afternoon after the charges had been formally filed. However, The Detroit News now reports that Geddert has died by suicide.

Geddert was an associate of Larry Nassar, the Michigan State doctor who hundreds of young women accused of sexual assault; he was eventually sent to prison after pleading guilty to child porn and seven counts of sexual assault of a minor. However, the charges brought against Geddert are unrelated to Nassar, other than a single charge of lying to a police officer, during a 2016 interview investigating allegations against Nassar.

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Geddert was suspended from his position by USA Gymnastics in 2018 after Nassar sentencing and ownership of Geddert’s training facility, Twistars USA, was transferred to his wife.

The 2012 Olympic team, which Geddert helped train, consisted of the so-called Fierce Five: Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber, and Kyla Ross. During the Nassar trial, Maroney said that she had told members of USA Gymnastics, including Geddert, that Nassar had assaulted her the night before. She was 15 years old at the time.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told the Post it’s not yet clear exactly how many victims Geddert had but confirmed to the Detroit News that the allegations against Geddert “focus on multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple victims.” Nessel also stated that the two sexual assault charges “involve a reported victim between the ages of 13 and 16.”

While its unclear how Geddert’s death will impact current and future investigations, he is the fourth person charged with involvement in the assault of young American gymnasts, further revealing the widespread culture of abuse in the sport.

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