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Suicide means alleged victims of Lansing-area gymnastics coach won’t get full closure

MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) – Thursday’s apparent suicide by Lansing-area gymnastics coach John Geddert means dozens of females he is accused of sexually abusing for years won’t get full closure.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office announced 24 charges of human trafficking, sexual assault, lying to police and racketeering against Geddert on Thursday. He was accused of emotionally and physically abusing at least 50 female athletes, all of whom were minors.

Geddert, who coached the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, was supposed to turn himself in to authorities Thursday afternoon. However, Michigan State Police say they found his body at a rest area along I-96 in Clinton County after he apparently committed suicide.

Geddert worked closely with disgraced doctor Larry Nassar for decades. Dozens of Nassar’s victims got to give victim impact statements in court and watch as a judge sentenced him to decades behind bars, providing them closure for the sexual abuse he perpetrated.

Geddert’s alleged victims won’t get that closure.

“Frustrated for survivors who are not able to hear from the justice system that they are believed,” said gymnast Grace French.

She was one of the athletes who read a statement against Nassar in court before his sentencing.

“They won’t get that same closure and that is really hard to bear because it’s another sign of control that abusers do have over their victims,” French said.

She said the whirlwind past 24 hours with the charges against Geddert and his sudden death have been difficult, but they don’t define any of his victims.

“Knowing that his actions were his choices and they have nothing to do with our stories and our truths is something that’s really helped me in the past 24 hours to really stay calm,” French said.

She hopes her sister survivors are taking care of themselves and doing what they need to process everything that’s happened. She wants them to know help and resources are readily available.

“The last thing we want for a survivor or somebody who has seen this on the news is triggered by it to feel like they are alone, because they are not,” French said.

Sarah Klein, who survived abuse by Nassar and Geddert, said his suicide is basically an admission of guilt for the whole world to see.

“John Geddert’s escape from justice by committing suicide is traumatizing beyond words,” she posted on Twitter. “He tortured and abused little girls, myself included, for more than 30 years and was able to cheat justice.”

The post Suicide means alleged victims of Lansing-area gymnastics coach won’t get full closure appeared first on Lansing Daily.

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