Hours after being charged with 24 felonies, former gymnastics coach John Geddert kills himself

Local authorities confirm former coach’s death

Ex-Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert kills himself hours after being charged
Ex-Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert kills himself hours after being charged

LANSING, Mich. – John Geddert, the former U.S. Olympics coach and former owner of Twistars Gymnastics, killed himself Thursday hours after he was charged with 24 felonies.

READ: Former US Olympics coach John Geddert kills himself following announcement of felony charges

Police confirmed Geddert’s body was found at a rest stop on I-96 in Grand Ledge just after 3:20 p.m. He was 63 years old.

Geddert was expected to be arraigned at 2 p.m. Thursday on 24 felonies, but he did not show up to the hearing.

Sources said he killed himself with a single gunshot.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called Geddert’s death “a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved.”

The former U.S. Olympics coach had ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison -- 40-125 years in Eaton County prison and 40-175 years in Ingham County prison -- after more than 150 victims came forward accusing him of sexual assault.

Geddert was the head coach of the U.S. Olympics Gymnastics team in 2012 and owned Twistars, the gym the team trained at. During this time, Nassar was the team’s doctor and also treated gymnasts at Twistars.

Nassar worked for Geddert as a team physician and Twistars’ medical expert for about 20 years.

Twistars was sold to new owners in early 2021 and changed its name to Capital City Flips.

The court filings allege Geddert had a history being physically and emotionally abusive. During Nassar’s trial, multiple gymnasts said they held Geddert responsible for Nassar’s abuse and said Geddert had enabled Nassar.

Nessel announced the 24 felony charges against the former gymnastics coach at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

READ: Ex-Olympics coach with ties to Nassar faces 20 human trafficking charges among others

“It is alleged that John Geddert use force, fraud and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him,” Nessel said.

Geddert was charged with 20 counts of human trafficking, six of them involving a minor.

“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,” Nessel said. “Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behavior to this day.”

He was charged with two counts criminal sexual conduct. Both charges involve a minor between the ages of 13 and 16. According to the charges, the incidents allegedly occurred in 2012 and the victims were coerced into “effected sexual penetration” and “sustained personal injury.”

He was also charged with one count of racketeering and one count of lying to a police officer who was investigating claims into Nassar.

The following felony charges were filed against Geddert:

  • 14 charges of human trafficking -- forced labor resulting in injury
  • Six charges of human trafficking of a minor for forced labor
  • One count of criminal enterprises -- racketeering proceeds
  • One count first degree criminal sexual conduct
  • One county second degree criminal sexual conduct
  • One count lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation

Sarah Klein, an attorney and advocate for victims of sexual abuse who was Nassar’s first known victim and a former student of Geddert, released the following statement Thursday:

Nessel said the charges against Geddert were unrelated to her investigation into misconduct at Michigan State University and the only connection between the two investigations was Nassar.

According to the Attorney General’s office, the investigation in MSU remains inconclusive and nearly 6,000 school documents have not been released to investigators. The Attorney General’s office has no legal options available to it that would allow for review of the material without the MSU Board of Trustee’s consent.

In addition to Nassar, the investigation into MSU resulted in the filing of charges against MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, Dean William Strampel and Kathie Klages.

Strampel convicted of willful neglect of duty having to do with his supervision of Nassar and misconduct in office over how he attempted to manipulate multiple female students in his role as dean. He was sentence to one year in jail and has since been released.

Klages was convicted of lying to a police officer in the Nassar investigation and sentenced to 90 days jail. She has filed an appeal, which is currently pending in the Court of Appeals.

The charges against Simon were dismissed but the Attorney General’s office has filed an appeal and the case is awaiting oral argument.

The charges against Simon centered on a 2018 interview with investigators who said they wanted to know what officials at the East Lansing school knew about Nassar.

The Michigan Sexual Assault Hotline offers anonymous assistance and support without judgement. It can be reached at 855-864-2374.

Former Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert kills himself hours after being charged with 24 felonies
Former Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert kills himself hours after being charged with 24 felonies

About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.