John Geddert Is Dead After Human Trafficking Charges


Sarah Klein, a former student of Mr. Geddert’s who was abused by Mr. Nassar, said in a statement that Mr. Geddert “maintained a culture of fear” at his gym.

“It was widely known that Geddert and Nassar were close friends and it would have been unthinkable to approach him and complain about Nassar’s actions,” Ms. Klein said.

Mr. Geddert’s arrest and death puts even more pressure on U.S.A. Gymnastics, the national governing body of gymnastics, to try to find ways to stop abuse in the sport. Already the federation is facing a battery of lawsuits brought by Mr. Nassar’s victims and a multimillion settlement it proposed last year was turned down. The federation also has been going through bankruptcy proceedings since 2018.

Some gymnasts, including Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in history and the sport’s top star, have said the federation has failed its constituents and continues to do so. Earlier this month, Ms. Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that she would not allow her daughter, if she ever had one, to participate in a U.S.A. Gymnastics program because it has failed to make the sport safe.

“I don’t feel comfortable enough, because they haven’t taken accountability for their actions and what they’ve done,” she said. “And they haven’t ensured us that it’s never going to happen again.”

Rachael Denhollander, who attended meets with Twistars’ athletes as a gymnast, called the charges brought against Mr. Geddert “sobering.”

“The reality is Geddert’s abuse was never a secret,” Ms. Denhollander said. “Geddert could have and should have been stopped decades ago.”

Michael Levenson and Shaila Dewan contributed reporting.

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