Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert dies by suicide following human trafficking, sexual assault charges

National News

UPDATE: 2/25/2021 @ 3:39 P.M. (WLNS)— State officials confirm to 6 News 2012 USA Olympic coach John Geddert is dead, after a self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday afternoon. He was charged this morning for human trafficking, criminal sexual assault, lying to a peace officer, and racketeering.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued the following statement after learning about Geddert’s death.

6 News has also heard from Rita Wieber, the mother of DeWitt native and Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber:

“I wanted to see John punished -for years- but I never imagined something like this….It’s tragic. I feel for his family.”

Rita Wieber

6 News has reached out to Geddert’s attorney, who had no comment.

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— Mid-Michigan native and 2012 USA Olympic coach John Geddert is facing multiple charges including human trafficking, criminal sexual assault, lying to a peace officer, and Racketeering. Those charges were filed Thursday morning in the Eaton County District Court.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel held a news conference to announce the results of the criminal investigation that led to the charges. Watch that full news conference in the video below.

The attorney general will be joined by Chief Deputy Attorney General Christina Grossi, Acting Division Chief Danielle Hagaman-Clark, Criminal Trials and Appeals Division, and Assistant Attorney General Danielle Russo Bennetts.

Geddert’s charges include:

  • 14 counts of human trafficking, forced labor causing injury, a 15-year felony
  • Six counts of human trafficking of a minor for forced labor, a 20-year felony
  • One count of continuing criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony
  • One count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a life offense felony
  • One count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony
  • One count of lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation, a four-year felony 

“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 charges against Mr. Geddert are the result of a great deal of hard work by my investigators and prosecutors, and I would like to express my gratitude for their devoted service, as well as the cooperation and efforts of the Michigan State Police, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office and Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd and his staff. This case has truly been a joint effort by law enforcement and another example of how authorities at multiple levels of government can work together in pursuit of justice.” 

Geddert ran Twistars gymnastics club for many years and coached the USA Gymnastics team to a gold medal in 2012.

The “Fierce Five” – which included DeWitt native Jordyn Wieber – won the team competition at the London Olympics.

But Geddert’s reputation later came under fire because of his association with Larry Nassar, a doctor who was accused of sexually abusing hundreds of young women – almost all of them athletes – during his career. Nassar was also the Olympic team’s doctor in 2012.

Wieber and several other members of the Fierce Five accused Nassar of molesting them. One of them, McKayla Maroney, says she told Geddert back in 2011 that Nassar had abused her, but that Geddert didn’t take any action.

Nassar pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges in Ingham and Eaton counties (Twistars was based in Eaton County and Nassar was accused of abusing some women and girls there) as well as federal child pornography charges.

Nassar is serving 60 years on the child porn charges at a high security federal prison in Florida with a scheduled release date of 2068. If the 57-year-old survives that sentence, he could face more than 100 years in a Michigan prison.

Geddert has been under investigation for years – first by local and state officials, and later by the Michigan Attorney General, who took over the case two years ago.

Police launched an investigations into Geddert shortly after Nassar’s sentencing, in which some of the Nassar survivors accused Geddert of being physically and emotionally abusive.

That investigation led to a search of his former club and his home last year.

Geddert has also been criticized by his former students for his teaching and training methods and was suspended by USA Gymnastics. Former Twistars gymnasts also say Geddert required his athletes to see Nassar for treatment.

He later sold the club and retired one day after the suspension.

“I know I’m not perfect,” he said in his retirement letter to his community in 2018. “Like all of our coaches, I am deeply committed to protecting the safety and well-being of our students. I know my shortcomings as a coach: I have high expectations and high standards and I am passionate about coaching our gymnasts to realize their full potential. Sometimes the intensity is challenging — both for our gymnasts and their coaches.”

“Everything about our work is about safe, successful gymnastics. That’s why I am so incredibly disappointed in USA Gymnastics’ recent letter and its false allegations that I have violated Safe Sport Policy,” the letter read.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

News tips

Do you have a news tip or breaking news to share with WFXR?  Submit your tip here.

NBA Stats

Latest News

More News

News Tip Form

Latest Scores