John Geddert, Former US Gymnastics Coach, Dies by Suicide Following Sexual Assault Charges

John Geddert, former U.S. gymnastics coach who won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, died by suicide on Thursday. He was 63 years old. Police found his body hours after he was charged in Michigan with sexual assault and human trafficking. According to NBC News, Geddert agreed to surrender at a sheriff's office on Thursday before 2:15 p.m local time arraignment but never showed up. He was charged with 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor resulting in injury, one count of racketeering, two counts of criminal sexual conduct and one count of lying to police.

For the two sexual conduct counts, Geddert was accused of "sexual penetration" of a girl under the age of 16 in January 2012. "John Geddert used force, fraud and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said on Thursday before Geddert's body was found. "The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and self-harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault."

Geddert had ties with Larry Nassar, the former U.S. gymnastics team doctor who is currently in prison for child pornography and sexual assault of minors. Several gymnasts publicly accused Nassar of abusing them at Geddert's Twistars gym in Dimondale, Michigan.

"Mr. Geddert knew that Nassar was sexual abusing these patients and that he failed to take action," Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said. "And that when he was asked about it by police officers during the 2016 investigation into Nassar, he lied about that." According to USA Today, Geddert was under investigation for three years, starting after Nassar's sentencing hearings in January 2018.

Geddert was the coach of the U.S. gymnastics team that won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. The team included Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney. He announced his retirement on January 23, 2018, one day after USA Gymnastics revealed his suspension on allegations he physically and psychologically abuse gymnasts.

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