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Law enforcement experts debate handling of Geddert case

Former Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert under investigation
Posted at 6:15 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 18:15:44-05

(WSYM) — John Geddert faced 24 felony charges of abuse of young gymnasts, prior to taking his own life. Now, some say there’s reason to question how the case was handled.

“What a great best friend John was to Larry, for giving him an entire world to abuse so easily. You John Geddert also deserve to sit behind bars next to Larry,” said survivor Lindsey Lemke in court.

Another survivor Makayla Thrush adding, “There’s isn’t one bone in my body that doesn’t hate John Geddert for everything he has done to me and my career.”

As they spoke about 2012 US Olympic women’s gymnastics coach John Geddert, those powerful words of survivors could not be forgotten.

Now, the Michigan Attorney General is facing tough questions about allowing him to turn himself in for those charges, something that never happened when the 63-year-old instead took his own life.

“Generally the press conference is always done after the arrest was made. This was clearly a case where they spiked the ball before they crossed the goal line,” says Retired FBI Supervisor Andy Bartnowak.

The Michigan AG issued an updated statement calling it a miscommunication in believing Geddert was on his way to a Sheriff’s substation.

Her office also added that they followed procedure and had no indication he would flee, hurt others, or himself.

“For somebody facing substantial time in prison, you shouldn’t allow him to turn himself in, if you’re asking for a high bond, no bond, you have every reason to affect the arrest,” says Bartnowak.

However, there are those who see it differently.

“No. It’s not a mistake necessarily,” says former federal prosecutor Abed Hammoud.

He adds, “There’s always risk in every arrest. There are risks for law enforcement and add onto that COVID.”

Hammoud says second-guessing the outcome, is simply unfair.

“The only time you can prevent this is if you have signs the man is suicidal. If you had these signs, then him turning himself in would have been handled differently. To speculate he would have been alive if he was taken into custody isn’t correct, people do commit suicide in custody as well,” says Hammoud.

The AG’s office cited the ongoing MSP investigation into what happened, as a reason for declining our interview request. We’ll stay on this to get answers from those investigating.