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John Geddert suicide was an ‘escape from justice’ says furious gymnast ‘abused’ by Olympic team coach

A GYMNAST who says she was abused by Olympic team coach John Geddert has claimed his suicide was an "escape from justice".

The 63-year-old, who led the 2012 US women's Olympic gymnastics team, killed himself after being charged with human trafficking and sexual assault.

Michigan state officials confirmed to WLNS that the coach died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Thursday.

Furious athlete Sarah Klein claims his suicide "is an admission of guilt", reports CNN.

"He tortured and abused little girls, myself included, for more than 30 years and was able to cheat justice," 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."

Geddert was the head coach of the 2012 US women's Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal.

He died on Thursday afternoon of a self-inflicted gunshot wound - hours after being charged with two dozen crimes, including human trafficking, a step that prosecutors acknowledged was an uncommon use of Michigan law.

Klein added: "The bravery of Geddert's many victims will stand for all time in stark contrast to his cowardice.

"As a survivor and a mother of two young girls, my only comfort is in the knowledge that I can rest my head on the pillow every night knowing that John Geddert will never terrorize and abuse another child."

Geddert previously owned Michigan's famed Twistars Gymnastics Club, where disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar admitted sexually abusing many young female athletes.

The doctor used his high profile position to assault hundreds of underage girls, including Olympic gold medallists, over three decades.

Former gymnast Klein was one of more than 150 victims who spoke out about how they went to Nassar for treatment for a sports injury, only to be sexually assaulted.

She claims Geddert "maintained a culture of fear" that she says made it "impossible" for girls speak out about Nassar's abuse.

Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar, who is serving decades in prison for sexually assaulting female athletes.

Klein said: "My abuse by Larry Nassar began at the age of eight while I was training at John Geddert's elite gymnastics gym.

"The abuse continued throughout my time training at Geddert's gym, more than 10 years.

"Geddert was an intimidating coach and maintained a culture of fear that made it impossible for young girls to approach him and report Nassar's abuse."

Former Olympian McKayla Maroney said that she was in a car with Geddert on an international trip in 2011 when she told him how Nassar had allegedly groped her the night before, ABC reported.

USA Gymnastics cut ties with Nassar in 2015 and Michigan State fired him in September of the same year.

In January 2018, Nassar was jailed for up to 175 years in jail after he was convicted of sexually assaulting scores of young women.

He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting 125 girls and women between 1998 and 2015.

The number of alleged victims who have come forward exceeds 250.

A month earlier he was given a 60-year sentence for possessing child pornography after being found with 37,000 images of child pornography.

On February 5 Nassar was sentenced to an additional 40 to 125 years in jail for a further three sex offences - a total of up to 360 years in jail.

Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said the charges against Geddert "have very little to do" with Nassar.

Geddert was suspended by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. He told families in 2018 that he was retiring.

But Geddert was often portrayed 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," said Lindsey Lemke, now a coach at the University of Arkansas.

On Thursday, Geddert was accused of recruiting minors for forced labor, a reference to the gymnasts he coached, according to documents filed in an Eaton County court.

A message seeking comment was left with Geddert’s attorney by the Associated Press earlier on Thursday.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said the coach used "force, fraud and coercion" for financial benefit.

"The victims suffer from disordered eating," Nessel said, "including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault.

"Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behavior to this day," the attorney general said.

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.

USA Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert is charged with sexual assault following McKayla Maroney claims

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