John Geddert Physically and Verbally Abused Gymnasts, Court Documents Reveal

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2021

FILE - In this March 3, 2012, file photo, gymnastics coach John Geddert is seen at the American Cup gymnastics meet at Madison Square Garden in New York. Geddert, a former U.S. women's gymnastics national team coach, is facing a criminal investigation in Michigan after the sentencing of disgraced ex-sports doctor Larry Nassar, who treated girls at his elite club Twistars near Lansing. The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, people have recently come forward with complaints against Geddert. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

John Geddert, head coach of the 2012 United States women's Olympic gymnastics team, physically and verbally assaulted his gymnasts throughout his career. 

Per court documents obtained by ESPN's John Barr and Dan Murphy, Geddert is alleged to have sexually assaulted a 14-year-old gymnast after a practice at the Twistars USA Gymnastics Club. 

The documents also note that investigators said "multiple women...attempted suicide after years of trauma from training with Geddert."

One of the gymnasts said that Geddert told her she "should climb off the top of the rafters of the gym, jump off and kill herself."

Other gymnasts detailed Geddert's pattern of "downplaying serious injuries, pushing gymnasts to train in unsafe conditions, berating young girls for their weight and their intelligence, spitting in their faces and stomping on their bare feet when he was unhappy with their performance."

Barr and Murphy noted that Geddert had been investigated by Michigan police for allegations of abuse dating back to November 2011: 

"The parent of a Twistars gymnast, who also worked at the club, told state police that Geddert followed her into the parking lot after an argument during practice. The woman told police Geddert screamed obscenities at her, among other things calling her "white trailer trash" and assaulted her by stepping on her foot and chest bumping her."

Geddert was a long-time associate of former USA Gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar, who is currently serving a minimum of 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault and child pornography. 

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Per the Associated Press, Geddert was charged with 24 crimes Thursday including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise. He died by suicide that same day after the charges were announced. 

Geddert retired from USA Gymnastics in January 2018 after the organization announced he had been suspended pending the result of an investigation into his alleged abuse.