The coach of the United States women's gymnastics team, John Geddert, celebrates with the team the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.- / AF
P John Geddert, former coach of the United States' artistic gymnastics women's Olympic team, has committed suicide this Thursday just hours after being accused of 24 crimes. A score of charges were related to human trafficking and forced labor, another two were for sexual crimes, one for criminal organization and another for lying to the police. The latter was related to the case of the sexual predator Larry Nassar , who in his capacity as doctor of the Olympic team abused more than 140 girls during almost two decades. The Michigan District Attorney's Office has confirmed the death of Geddert, 63. "This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
At a press conference before Geddert's death was known, Nessel said the charges involved minors and that although it could not give an exact number of victims, it anticipated that the figure was less than 50. The prosecution said that its office focused on "multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the accused against multiple victims."
The indictments included 14 counts of human trafficking / forced labor resulting in injuries, six counts of trafficking of minors for forced labor and two crimes of sexual assault – one first degree, one second – against a teenage girl in 2012. It was planned that Geddert was indicted this afternoon in the court of the county of Eaton, near Lansing (Michigan). CNN obtained a copy of the complaint against the former coach, which noted that the alleged crimes ran from 2008 to 2016.
The charges stemmed from a three-year investigation into the Nassar case, the largest sex scandal in history. of American sports . In 1996 Geddert founded Michigan's famous Twistars Gymnastics Club USA, one of the places where Larry Nassar admitted to sexually abusing young athletes. "Mr. Geddert knew that Nassar was sexually abusing his patients and did not take any action," said Danielle Hagaman-Clark, acting division chief for the Michigan attorney general's office, adding that the charges against Geddert had "very little what to do ”with those of the former Olympic team doctor.
Following the investigations into Nassar , Geddert was suspended in 2018 from the Olympic gymnastics federation and decided to retire. The organization did not give details of the sanction to the coach, it was only known that he resorted to a statute that allows taking such measures to "guarantee the safety and well-being of the gymnastics community." Geddert transferred ownership of the gym to his wife, but she later sold the facility.
Regarding the twenty charges for human trafficking, Nessel said that the now-deceased former coach, who led the Olympic team to win the gold medal in London 2012 “used force, fraud and coercion” against young athletes for their financial gain. The Michigan prosecutor explained that the consequences suffered by the alleged victims include eating disorders, suicide attempts and self-harm. "Like perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault, [human] traffickers can seize an opportunity at any time and take advantage of the vulnerability of their victims," added Nessel.
On his LinkedIn page, Geddert described himself himself as “the most decorated women's gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.”