Testimony lists pattern of abuse by late mid-Michigan gymnastics coach

CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WOOD) — Court documents outline allegations of emotional, physical and sexual abuse by an Olympic gymnastics coach from mid-Michigan who was found dead of suicide after charges were filed against him.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office on Thursday announced it had filed 24 felony counts against John Geddert including for human trafficking, sexual assault and racketeering. Only hours later, Geddert’s body was found at a rest stop along I-96; he had shot himself.

Geddert owned and coached at Twistars gym in Dimondale near Lansing for years. Former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of sexually assaulting his patients, was the gym’s doctor, but the charges issued against Geddert have little to do with Nassar.

A transcript of that sworn testimony in an Eaton County court Wednesday to demonstrate probable cause against Geddert alleges he would yell at and berate athletes about their bodies to the point that some developed eating disorders. In at least two cases, athletes attempted suicide.

He’s accused of stomping on gymnasts’ feet if he became angry and allegedly shoved them into or off of equipment if they made a mistake.

“While spotting her, (Geddert) grabbed (an athlete) at the waist and threw her into the bars, striking her face and neck on the low bar,” the transcript reads in part. “This caused her to rupture her lymph nodes in the right side of her neck, causing a black eye and tore her abdominal muscles.”

The testimony went on to claim he pushed someone off a balance beam more than a dozen times.

The two criminal sexual conduct charges against Geddert stemmed from allegations that in 2012, he followed a 14-year-old into the locker room and molested her before telling her, “This wouldn’t be happening if you just completed my assignment at practice like you were supposed to.”

In one incident in 2013 in which a gymnast said Geddert stomped on her toes and threw her into a locker room wall, charges were recommended but the prosecutor declined to pursue them. Geddert was ordered to attend counseling instead.