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Former US Olympic Gymnastics Head Coach Dies After Being Charged With Sexual Assault

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Former US Olympic Gymnastics Head Coach Dies After Being Charged With Sexual Assault

The former head coach of the US Olympic gymnastics team has died by suicide after being charged with sexual assault and human trafficking.

Police charged John Geddert with 24 counts of criminal misconduct, including 20 counts of human trafficking, and two counts of criminal sexual conduct, with several of the charges relating to minors.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel explained the charges during a press conference, where he said: "It is alleged that John Geddert used force, fraud, and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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"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."

In the sexual assault charges, Geddert was accused of sexual penetration of somebody older than 13 but younger than 16.

The human trafficking charges related to forced labor resulting in injury, where Geddert was alleged to knowingly subject or attempt to subject gymnasts into 'forced labor or services by causing or threatening to cause physical harm'.

Nessel explained the latter counts, adding: "We think of [human trafficking] predominantly as affecting people of color, or those without means to protect themselves from this type of crime, but honestly it can happen to anyone, anywhere.

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"Just like the perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault, traffickers can seize an opportunity at any time, and use the vulnerability of their victims to their advantage."

However, shortly after he was charged with 24 offences, police say Geddert killed himself.

The Michigan Attorney-General said: "My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved."

Geddert was also indicted on lying to a peace officer over denying knowledge of complaints against former US Olympic gymnastic team doctor Larry Nassar.

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Nassar is serving life in prison after being convicted of sexual assault charges and child pornography.

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Topics: News

Stewart Perrie
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