LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar was charged Thursday with two dozen crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise.
John Geddert was head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. Nassarwas the team’s doctor and also treated injured gymnasts at Twistars, Geddert’s Lansing-area gym for elite athletes.
Geddert, 63, is accused of turning the gym into a criminal business. He’s chargedwith recruiting minors for forced labor, apparently a reference to the gymnasts he coached, according to documents filed in an Eaton County court, near Lansing.
No details were disclosed in the documents, but Attorney General Dana Nessel scheduled an afternoon news conference to discuss the case. A message seeking comment was left with Geddert’s attorney.
Geddert also is charged with sexually assaulting a teen in 2012. Authorities allege that he also lied to investigators in 2016 when he said he had never heard anyone complain about Nassar, who pleaded guilty to being a serial sexual abuser of female gymnasts.
Geddert has insisted he had “zero knowledge” of Nassar’s crimes, although some gymnasts said he forced them to see Nassar and was physically abusive. Nassar, who was a doctor at Michigan State University, was sentenced to decades in prison for sexually assaulting gymnasts at the school and elsewhere, and for possessing child pornography.
During Nassar’s sentencing, a woman said Geddert was aware in the late 1990s that Nassar had performed an “inappropriate procedure” on her when she was 16. A prosecutor read that accuser’s anonymous statement in court.
Geddert was suspended by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. He told families in 2018 that he was retiring.
On his LinkedIn page, Geddert describes himself as the “most decorated women’s gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.” He said his Twistars teams won 130 club championships.
But Geddert was often described in unflattering ways when Nassar’s victims spoke during court hearings in 2018.
“What a great best friend John was to Larry for giving him an entire world where he was able to abuse so easily,” gymnast Lindsey Lemke said. “You two sure do have a funny meaning of friendship. You, John Geddert, also deserve to sit behind bars right next to Larry.”
White reported from Detroit.
Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.