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Former US Olympic Coach’s Suicide An ‘Escape From Justice’, Says Former Gymnast

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 26 Feb 2021 15:49
Former US Olympic Coach's Suicide An 'Escape From Justice', Says Former GymnastPA

The disgraced US gymnastics coach John Geddert’s suicide is being described as an ‘escape from justice’ by one of his victims.

The former Olympic women’s gymnastics coach took his own life just hours after being charged with 24 felonies, including 20 counts of human trafficking and two counts of criminal sexual conduct; several of which are related to minors.

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The 63-year-old was found dead yesterday, February 25, after failing to turn himself in to police.

Geddert was head coach of the women’s gymnastics team in 2012 and had worked closely with now-convicted sex offender and former USA Gymnastics national team doctor, Larry Nessar. Three years ago, Nessar was sentence to over 300 years in prison for molesting young athletes.

Former US Olympic Head Coach Dies By Suicide After Being Charged With Human TraffickingPA Images

Sarah Klein, a gymnast that was abused by both Geddert and Nessar, said that Geddert had cheated justice by killing himself.

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As per CNN she said, ‘He tortured and abused little girls, myself included, for more than 30 years and was able to cheat justice.’

Klein also placed blame on officials at USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

She said:

Geddert was a narcissistic abuser. His suicide is an admission of guilt that the entire world can now see. Also guilty are his enablers including the top officials at USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee who promoted him, enabled him and allowed him to coach Team USA.

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sarahgklein/Instagram

Alexandra Raisman has also been vocal about her experiences with Geddert in the wake of the charges and said she felt ‘sick to [her] stomach’.

She wrote in a thread of tweets, ‘As a minor on the National Team, I frequently had to travel (without my parents) under the supervision of USA Gymnastics. The “responsible” adults included John Geddert, Marvin Sharpe, Steve Penny, and Larry Nassar. Respectively, the criminal offenses they have been charged with include Criminal Sexual Conduct and Racketeering, Child Molesting, Destroying Evidence, and Sexual assault.’

She continued:

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For an organization that has claimed for the past 15+ years that “athlete safety is the No. 1 priority,” it’s impossible to imagine a greater failure. This is & has always been bigger than John Geddert, Marvin Sharpe, Steve Penny, and Larry Nassar. Why is there still no independent investigation? How many more children have to suffer?

‘Sick to my stomach. Thinking of the survivors out there. Wish there was more I could say to ease the pain & suffering,’ Raisman added in a separate tweet.

USA Gymnastics has since released a statement saying that it is ‘shocked’ by the news of Geddert’s death. Part of the organisation’s statement read, ‘With the news of his death by suicide, we share the feelings of shock, and our thoughts are with the gymnastics community as they grapple with the complex emotions of today’s events.’

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If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Death, Sport

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CNN and 1 other
  1. CNN

    The suicide of the ex-USA Gymnastics coach who faced abuse charges was an 'escape from justice,' former gymnast says

  2. Alexandra Raisman/Twitter

    @Aly_Raisman