Summary List PlacementFormer gymnast Sarah Klein, who accused ex-Olympic coach John Geddert of abuse, told NBC News his suicide brings her no closure.
Geddert, 63, died by suicide Thursday, shortly after he was charged with 24 criminal counts, many of which were human-trafficking related. He faced life in prison if convicted.
In an interview published Friday, Klein called the news “devastating” and “traumatizing,” but added, “there is no greater admission of guilt than John Geddert taking his own life.”
“It was his final act of narcissistic control with which he lived his life and coached his gymnasts for decades,” she told NBC News, adding she believes his suicide was “intended to be an insult to his victims.”
Klein, who trained under Geddert for over a decade, told the outlet he “physically, verbally, emotionally, and psychologically” abused her from when she was 8 years old. She said she would rather choose “the 17 years of almost daily sexual abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar than spend one more day with John Geddert.”
Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in 2018 on sexual-assault charges.
“In my view, and I believe in the view of many of Geddert’s gymnasts, what he did to us was far worse and far more traumatizing than having a grown man digitally penetrate you almost daily,” she said. “He psychologically broke us. He physically hurt us. He shamed us. He terrified us and terrorized us in a way that will affect us for the entirety of our lives.”
Rather than be arrested and transported, Geddert was scheduled to appear in court on his own after being charged Thursday. A spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told the Associated Press “we had no indication that Geddert intended to flee or hurt himself or others. We had been in contact with his attorney and were assured of his cooperation.”
Instead, his body was found along Interstate 96. “This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday at a press conference.
It was unclear how Geddert would plead and his attorney Chris Bergstrom did not respond to a request from the Associated Press for comment.
As reported by NBC News, Geddert had worked at Nassar’s gym in the Lansing, Michigan area. Klein told the outlet she believes the two were enablers of each other. “There would not be a Larry Nassar without John Geddert,” she said. “And there would not have been a John Geddert without Larry Nassar.”
After Geddert’s death, USA Gymnastics released a statement saying it “hoped that news of the criminal charges being brought against John Geddert would lead to justice through the legal process.”
“With the news of his death by suicide, we share the feelings of shock, and our thoughts are with the gymnastics community as they grapple with the complex emotions of this week’s events.”
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, meanwhile, also released a statement saying: “it’s the voice of the survivors that matter most at this time.”
“They continue to show bravery and strength in the most difficult circumstances — including today’s events.”SEE ALSO: A 7-year-old from Alabama is selling lemonade to help pay for her brain surgeries
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