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Court document: John Geddert inflicted 'extreme' emotional and physical abuse on gymnasts

Former Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert under investigation
Posted at 1:56 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 14:55:02-05

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — A woman who attended Twistars gymnastics club told investigators for the Michigan Attorney General's Office that John Geddert constantly called her fat even though she was 5-foot-3 and 118 pounds and "blamed her weight for not performing up to his standards," according to court documents.

Geddert forced her to step on a scale on a daily basis and to run on a treadmill that was going at top speed while he screamed at her, she said. He made her practice with unhealed injuries.

She developed an eating disorder and eventually attempted suicide, after which Geddert worried about how the suicide attempt “would ruin him,” said the woman, who was identified in court records only by initials. Geddert later called her college gymnastics coach and "advised the coach to pull the scholarship from the victim because the victim was lazy."

Geddert, a former USA Gymnastics coach, killed himself on Thursday, the same day the Attorney General's Office announced that he'd been charged with 20 counts of human trafficking and two counts of sexual assault, among other charges. His body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96 in Watertown Township.

On Wednesday, Bridgette Frost, a special agent with the Attorney General's Office, described the evidence against Geddert to Eaton County District Court Judge Julie O'Neill.

According to the 37-page transcript of that hearing, Geddert physically assaulted his gymnasts, pushing them off equipment, stepping on their toes, knocking things out of their hands. He screamed at them, forced them to practice and to compete with unhealed injuries and told gymnasts to “just go kill yourself.”

Geddert "used a pattern of abusive tactics, including stopping, stomping on and stepping on victims’ bare feet when he was wearing shoes," Frost testified.

When gymnasts left for other gyms, Geddert "had a pattern of stalking behavior, contacting the new gyms and the coaches to slander the victims," she said.

And he made a lot of money doing it. According to Frost, tax returns show Geddert, who owned Twistars in Dimondale, reported approximately $2.7 million in income for the years from 2014 to 2018.

Geddert, who was head coach of the women’s Olympic gymnastics team in 2012, worked with former MSU doctor and convicted sex offender Larry Nassar.

Nassar was sentenced in 2018 to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting some of the nation’s top gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment, many of them in a back room at Twistars.

"Geddert's abuse, like so much, was never a secret. EVER," Rachel Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar, tweeted shortly Wednesday after Geddert's charges had been announced but before his death. "In my memoir I wrote about knowing of it even as a club level gymnast in 2000. Because we have to grapple with the reality that it was known, and no one stopped him. It was known, and he was promoted and given more power."

In a statement, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called Geddert's death, "a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved.”

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Cali Montana

Cali Montana

2:27 PM, Jan 20, 2021

Charlotte & Eaton Rapids

Neighborhood Reporter

Cali Montana

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