Thema's ex-coach dies by suicide after charges in US

Gymnastics coach John Geddert. -
Gymnastics coach John Geddert. -

JOHN Geddert, former coach to the US gymnastics team, and former personal trainer to TT's gymnast Thema Williams, has died by suicide.

Geddert was discovered dead just hours after he was slapped with two dozen criminal charges. The 63-year-old was accused of human trafficking, forced labour and sexual misconduct, among other crimes.

In a statement, Michigan state attorney general Dana Nessel said, "My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved."

"These allegations," Nessel said, "focus around multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple young women. I am grateful for these survivors coming forward to cooperate with our investigation and for bravely sharing their stories."

Geddert served as head coach for the 2012 US women's Olympic gymnastics team, winners of the team gold medal in London.

He is said to have had a personal and professional relationship for over 25 years with disgraced former US national team physician Larry Nassar, who has been convicted of dozens of sexual abuse cases, was sentenced to a maximum of 175 years in prison. Over 150 survivors and family members reportedly testified against him.

Geddert coached Williams leading up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games while she was based at his club, Twistars, in Michigan, for about a year.

However, Williams was not selected by the TT Gymnastics Federation for the Olympics, a decision the TTGF made after receiving a report from Geddert.

He slammed the local governing body for its decision, saying his concerns about her fitness were taken out of context and insisting she was physically fine.

Instead, Marisa Dick, who was born and raised in Canada, was granted the Olympic spot, drawing public condemnation, as many considered Williams the more talented and prepared of the two athletes.

Newsday reached out to Williams on Thursday, but she did not want to comment.

Williams previously declined to speak with the media about theĀ  allegations against Geddert. He had not yet been charged when he was suspended by USA Gymnastics, in 2018, pending further investigations.

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