Ex-US Olympic gymnastics coach dies by suicide after human trafficking, other charges announced

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John Geddert, the former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach charged with several crimes including human trafficking, died by suicide, the Michigan attorney general’s office said Thursday.

No other details were released, according to FOX17 West Michigan. He was set to be arraigned Thursday afternoon after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said he had been expected to turn himself in. Nessel’s office told The Detroit News that he did not turn himself in.

The 63-year-old was charged Thursday in Michigan. Prosecutors said that Geddert is also accused of lying to investigators about hearing complaints about disgraced doctor Larry Nassar, who is serving years in prison for sexually assaulting female athletes under the impression of medical treatment. Nassar also treated injured athletes at Geddert’s Michigan gym.

He was charged with first- and second-degree criminal sexual assault, 20 counts of human trafficking, forced labor, six counts of human trafficking of a minor, forced labor, operating a criminal enterprise, and lying to police.

Prosecutors acknowledged that the human-trafficking charges were uncommon use of Michigan law.

“We think of it predominantly as affecting people of color or those without means to protect themselves … but honestly it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Young impressionable women may at times be vulnerable and open to trafficking crimes, regardless of their stature in the community or the financial well-being of their families.”

Nessel added: “It is alleged that John Geddert used force, fraud and coercion against young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him. The victims suffered from disordered eating, including bulimia, 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 was the head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal thanks to the performances from Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is the sports editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on social media @Gaydos

 

 

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