Suicide means that alleged victims of the gym trainer in the Lansing area will not be completely shut down
MID-MICHIGAN (WYRT) – The apparent suicide of gym trainer John Geddert of the Lansing area on Thursday means dozens of women he has been accused of for years of sexual abuse will not be shut down completely.
The Michigan attorney general announced on Thursday 24 charges of human trafficking, sexual assault, lying by the police and extorting Geddert. He was accused of emotionally and physically abusing at least 50 female athletes, all of whom were minors.
Geddert, who trained the US Olympic women’s gymnastics team in 2012, was due to report to the authorities on Thursday afternoon. However, Michigan State Police say they found his body at a rest stop off I-96 in Clinton County after he appeared to have committed suicide.
Geddert worked closely with disgraced doctor Larry Nassar for decades. Dozens of Nassar’s victims had to testify in court about the victim’s effects and watch a judge sentenced him to decades behind bars to have them shut down for the sexual abuse he had committed.
Geddert’s alleged victims will not receive this closure.
“Frustrated with survivors who can’t hear the justice system say they’re believed,” said gymnast Grace French.
She was one of the athletes who read a statement against Nassar before he was convicted in court.
“They’re not going to get the same closure, and that’s really hard to take because it’s another sign of control that perpetrators have over their victims,” French said.
She said the hurricane of the past 24 hours with the charges against Geddert and his sudden death was difficult, but they do not define any of his victims.
“Knowing that his actions were his choice and had nothing to do with our stories and truths has really helped me stay really calm over the past 24 hours,” said French.
She hopes that her sister’s survivors will take care of themselves and do whatever they can to come to terms with whatever happened. She wants them to know that help and resources are available.
“The last thing we want for a survivor or someone who saw this on the news is triggered by feeling alone because he is not,” French said.
Sarah Klein, who survived the abuse by Nassar and Geddert, said his suicide was basically an admission of guilt for the whole world.
“John Geddert’s escape from justice by suicide is indescribably traumatic,” she wrote on Twitter. “He has tortured and ill-treated little girls, including me, for over 30 years, and defrauded justice.”
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