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AG charges former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach John Geddert with human trafficking, sex assault

February 25, 2021
<p>Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a press conference at the G. Mennen Williams Building in Lansing on Feb. 21, 2019.</p>

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a press conference at the G. Mennen Williams Building in Lansing on Feb. 21, 2019.

Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

Content warning: Sexual assault, violence

Former U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics coach John Geddert was charged with 24 counts Thursday morning, in an investigation tied to convicted sex offender Larry Nassar's scandal.

The charges include 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor, one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, racketeering and lying to a police officer. 

According to the amended complaint document against Geddert, he was charged with 14 counts of "human trafficking-forced labor resulting in injury," which holds a 15-year prison sentence and/or a $15,000 fine for each count. Geddert was also charged with six counts of "human trafficking of a minor for forced labor," which holds a 20-year sentence and/or a $20,000 fine for each count.

He is facing a possible life sentence for the first-degree sexual assault charge. Geddert is facing 15 years for the second-degree sexual assault charge. In both cases, the victims were less than 16 years of age.

The racketeering charge holds a 20-year prison sentence and/or $100,000 fine.

On Sept. 27, 2016, Geddert lied to MSUPD officer Sam Miller regarding Larry Nassar's role at Twistars and his treatment of female athletes during an active criminal investigation. As a result, he is facing four years and/or a $5,000 fine for "lying to a peace officer- violent crime investigation."

Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office released a statement on Wednesday that said, “as part of its investigation into gymnastics coach John Geddert, (the AG's) prosecution team has, with the help of the Michigan State Police and the Grand Ledge Police Department, executed search warrants this morning on his residence and Twistars, his coaching facility.  Geddert was a US Olympics gymnastics coach who worked closely with Dr. Larry Nassar and at whose gymnastics club, Twistars, many of the Nassar victims were abused.”

The search warrants were executed on the morning of Feb. 25. 

Geddert previously owned and coached at Twistars gymnastics club in Dimondale. Hundreds of women have said that convicted sex offender Nassar sexually abused them there. Nassar treated athletes regularly in a back room at Twistars.

For three years, Geddert has been under investigation. It began immediately after Nassar’s sentencing hearings. Women and girls who gave victim impact statements said Geddert knew about the abuse. 

In Feb. 2018, Eaton County started investigating Geddert, after USA Gymnastics suspended him. 

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office took over the investigation in 2019 and executed a search warrant at Geddert’s home in Grand Ledge and at Twistars in Jan. 2020. 

After his suspension from US Gymnastics, Geddert transferred ownership of Twistars to his wife, Kathryn Geddert and announced his retirement. 

Kathryn sold Twistars earlier this month, it was renamed Capital City Flips. 

Hundreds of women and girls who filed lawsuits against Nassar said they were abused at Twistars. Three of Nassar’s 10 sexual assault convictions relate to abuse at Twistars. Geddert allegedly walked in on an instance of abuse, according to a woman who testified in Nassar’s criminal case. 

In Jan. 2018, Geddert’s attorneys said, “there is no merit to any of the allegations made against him or against his award-winning gym."

The Michigan Attorney General’s office held a press conference Thursday regarding the charges and sent out a press release shortly after.

Geddert was expected to turn himself in Thursday at the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office Substation in Delta Township. He was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:15 p.m. in Eaton County District Court 56A before Judge Julie O’Neill according to the release.

“These allegations focus around multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple young women," Nessel said. "I am grateful for these survivors coming forward to cooperate with our investigation and for bravely sharing their stories. The charges against Mr. Geddert are the result of a great deal of hard work by my investigators and prosecutors, and I would like to express my gratitude for their devoted service, as well as the cooperation and efforts of the Michigan State Police, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office and Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd and his staff. This case has truly been a joint effort by law enforcement and another example of how authorities at multiple levels of government can work together in pursuit of justice.” 

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