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JUST IN: Former-USA Gymnastics Coach Charged With Human Trafficking, Sex Crimes Commits Suicide

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Former US Olympic gymnastics coach, John Geddert, who led the women’s team to a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Games have committed suicide on Thursday over allegations ranging from sexual assaults to human trafficking that allegedly happened at his Michigan gym for years.Michigan Attorney General, Dana Nessel, confirmed Geddert’a death hours after announcing his charges during a news conference.A release from Nessel’s office said that the 63-year-old was facing charges that included human trafficking, criminal sexual conduct and lying to a peace officer. The former coach, who was charged with 24 felonies in connection with the abuse of young gymnasts, had been expected to turn himself in and be arraigned on Thursday afternoon.“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,” Nessel said in a statement.Geddert was the former owner of Michigan’s famed Twistars Gymnastics Club. It was one of the places Larry Nassar, the disgraced former gymnastics physician, had admitted to sexually abusing young female athletes. Twistars has since been sold and renamed.Nessel 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.“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.”The alleged offenses stretch from 2008 to 2016, CNN reports.A press release from Nessel’s office said Geddert engaged in verbal, physical and sexual abuse against multiple young women.Geddert was facing 14 counts of human trafficking-forced labor resulting in injury, six counts of human trafficking of a minor for forced labor, and one count each of continuing criminal enterprise, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, second-degree criminal sexual conduct and lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation.

USA Gymnastics released a statement on Geddert’s death expressing shock over the new turn the criminal case took.The statement reads, “This morning, we had hoped that news of the criminal charges being brought against John Geddert would lead to justice through the legal process. With the news of his death by suicide, we share the feelings of shock, and our thoughts are with the gymnastics community as they grapple with the complex emotions of today’s events.”Also, Sarah Klein, who has identified herself as the first to be abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, called John Geddart’s death by suicide an “escape from justice,” in a statement on Thursday night.She said, “The bravery of Geddert’s many victims will stand for all time in stark contrast to his cowardice.“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 terrorise and abuse another child.”

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