John Geddert, a former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to doctor Larry Nassar, died by suicide hours after he was charged with more than 20 crimes in Michigan.
He had reportedly agreed to surrender at a sheriff's office on Thursday before arraignment, but he never showed up, according to Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Police later found Geddert's body.
"My office has been notified that that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life," Nessel said in a statement, according to NBC News. "This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved."
Geddert 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, according to a Michigan state criminal complaint filed in Eaton County. There are accounts of him physically, emotionally and sexually abusing multiple gymnasts he trained.
Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said the charges against Geddert had “very little to do” with Nassar.
According to the documents, the 63-year-old is implicated in "sexual penetration" of a girl under 16 in January 2012 for the two counts of criminal sexual misconduct.
“John Geddert used force, fraud and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him," Nessel told reporters. "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. Many of these victims still carry these scars from his behavior to this day.”
Geddert, who lied to investigators in 2016 about never hearing anyone raise flags about Nassar, continued over the years to claim he had "zero knowledge" of the disgraced doctor's crimes. However, multiple gymnasts stepped forward and publicly described Nassar's sexual abuse of them at Geddert's Twistars gym in Dimondale, Mich.
Throughout Nassar's trial in 2018, survivors of the abusive doctor stepped forward and also spoke about Geddert's behavior. Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 10 minors in January 2018 and is serving up to 175 years in prison.
"What a great best friend John was to Larry for giving him an entire world where he was able to abuse so easily," former gymnast Lindsey Hull (né Lemke) said. "You two sure do have a funny meaning of friendship. You, John Geddert, also deserve to sit behind bars right next to Larry."