JOHN Geddert’s alleged victims can still sue his estate, but one survivor says “there’s no closure” after his suicide.
The 63-year-old USA gymnastic coach, who was hit with 24 criminal charges, including 20 counts of human trafficking and two counts of sexual assault, took his own life yesterday.
Geddert was the head coach of the 2012 US women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal[/caption]
Makayla Thrush was coached by Geddert from the age of seven up until she was 17[/caption]
Michigan state officials confirmed to WLNS that the coach died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Thursday.
If he was convicted on all counts, Geddert would have been sentenced to life in prison.
One of his alleged victims has said she believes Geddert’s death was an admission of guilt.
Makayla Thrush, who was coached by Geddert from the age of seven up until she was 17 said: “Honestly, no closure for me at all,”
“If you’re not guilty, personally, I would have fought it. That’s anybody’s general reaction.
“I don’t know why he chose that route. Was he guilty or was he not guilty? Personally, he was guilty.”
She explained that she was close to Geddert’s wife, Kathryn, who was also one of her coaches.
“I’m sad for the family, I am frustrated, and I am upset at the same time,” she told Fox 2.
“I had a lot of issues with the way John coached me and a lot of the other girls, as far as the emotional abuse, and sometimes the physical danger that we were put in.
“Kathryn was always supportive. I can’t imagine losing my husband. And my heart hurts for her.”
Victims can still sue Geddert’s estate in civil court where the evidentiary bar is lower — and there’s a decent chance they can win a monetary judgment.
Honestly, no closure for me at all. I don’t know why he chose that route. Was he guilty or was he not guilty? Personally, he was guilty.
Geddert previously owned Michigan’s famed Twistars Gymnastics Club, where disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar admitted sexually abusing many young female athletes.
The doctor used his high profile position to assault hundreds of underage girls, including Olympic gold medallists, over three decades.
Geddert was accused of recruiting minors for forced labor, a reference to the gymnasts he coached, according to documents filed in an Eaton County court.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the coach used “force, fraud and coercion” for financial benefit.
“The victims suffer from disordered eating,” Nessel said, “including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at 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 this behavior to this day,” the attorney general said.
Sarah Klein was Nassar’s first-known victim who released a statement on Geddert’s death.
In her statement, she said, “John Geddert’s escape from justice by committing suicide is traumatizing beyond words.
“He tortured and abused little girls, myself included, for more than 30 years and was able to cheat justice.
“Geddert was a narcissistic abuser. His suicide is an admission of guilt that the entire world can now see.
“Also guilty are his enablers including the top officials at USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee who promoted him, enabled him and allowed him to coach Team USA.
“The bravery of Geddert’s many victims will stand for all time in stark contrast to his cowardice.
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“As a survivor and a mother of two young girls, my only comfort is in the knowledge that I can rest my head on the pillow every night knowing that John Geddert will never terrorize and abuse another child.”
Klein, who is now an attorney, trained with Geddert for over 10 years. Geddert was an Olympic coach for Team USA gymnastics.
On his LinkedIn page, he described himself as the “most decorated women’s gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.”
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Geddert has died by suicide after being charged with human trafficking[/caption]
Geddert previously owned Michigan’s famed Twistars Gymnastics Club, where disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar admitted sexually abusing many young female athletes[/caption]