In wake of Larry Nassar sentencing, John Geddert faces criminal investigation

John Geddert, 60, of Grand Ledge, is a one-time U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics coach. He was suspended by USA Gymnastics Jan. 22.(Photo: LSJ file photo)
↓ Advertisement ↓

The Eaton County Sheriff's Office is actively investigating complaints against John Geddert, the former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach and longtime owner of Twistars Gymnastics Club in Dimondale who has strong ties to Larry Nassar.

Jerri Nesbitt, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, said Tuesday that "there are new people coming forward" with complaints, but she declined to elaborate on the nature of the complaints or comment further because police continue to investigate.

Geddert did not immediately respond to a message left seeking comment.

Reached Tuesday, Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd said he's aware of the investigation but hasn't yet "received anything from police that would allow me to comment."

↓ Advertisement ↓

Numerous women who provided victim impact statements during Nassar's sentencing hearings in Ingham and Eaton counties said Geddert physically abused them during training.

Some also cast blame upon Geddert for sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Nassar.

“There is no excuse for you not knowing what was happening in your gym," Bailey Lorencen said last month. "Except for inexcusable neglect and lack of leadership...  I don’t understand why anyone could still want to train (at Twistars), especially knowing that in that back room dungeon, hundreds of your athletes were being molested."

Geddert, 60, has been cleared of criminal charges after at least two earlier investigations, according to police records obtained by the State Journal.


In November 2011, an employee at Geddert’s Twistars Gymnastics Academy in Dimondale complained that Geddert assaulted her in the parking lot outside the facility.

The woman told Michigan State Police she and Geddert initially argued in the Twistars lobby, according to records obtained by the State Journal.

The woman said she tried to disengage but Geddert followed her outside, “continuing to yell obscenities, and calling her white trailer trash,” according to the records.

Geddert then stepped on her foot to prevent her from walking away, and later “chest bumped” the woman.

Police arranged an interview with Geddert but he failed to show up at the scheduled time, according to the records. He offered to talk with police three days later, but investigators were not available. Police sent their report to then-Eaton County Prosecutor Jeff Sauter's office the next month without having interviewed Geddert.

Assistant Prosecutor Neil O'Brien ultimately declined to file charges, writing that “the physical contact does not constitute an assault; we cannot prove assaultive intent beyond a reasonable doubt,” according to the records.

In October 2013, state troopers again investigated claims that Geddert assaulted someone at Twistars.

The alleged victim, a juvenile gymnast, told police Geddert got mad at her while practicing, then “took her into the locker room, stepped on her toe, grabbed her arm and push [sic] her into the wall,” according to the documents.

The girl said Geddert had never acted like that to her before, but said the incident “scarred” her and she would not feel comfortable going back to practice with Geddert again.

Geddert admitted to police that he grabbed the girl’s arm, but said he did so to “set her down on a bench,” investigators wrote. He said he took the gymnast into the locker room because the girl was causing issues with the staff, and he didn’t want to discipline her in front of other gymnasts.

Police forwarded their report to Lloyd in late 2013, according to the records.

In April 2014, Lloyd’s office declined to press charges but ordered Geddert to complete counseling. “If Geddert does not complete counseling the prosecutor’s office will issue (charges),” police wrote.

Geddert completed the counseling sometime between then and November 2014, according to the records.

Michigan State Police officials said Tuesday they do not have any open investigations involving Geddert.

Geddert, who recently transferred management of Twistars to his wife, last month said he plans to retire soon.

Hours after USA Gymnastics on Jan. 22 announced that Geddert had been suspended from membership, he sent an email to "Twistars families" saying, among other things, that he has been preparing to retire at age 60.

"Most of you have noticed that I have been taking a back seat this year," Geddert wrote. "This has been part of my exit strategy to retire at age 60. Well 60 is here." 

USA Gymnastics oversees competitive gymnastics in the United States. Under USAG bylaws, a suspended member cannot coach at sanctioned events, among other restrictions.

Geddert, of Grand Ledge, coached the 2012 U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team.

In the Jan. 22 email, which was obtained by the Lansing State Journal, Geddert also admitted he's "not perfect" and said he remains "deeply committed to protecting the safety and well-being of our students."

"I know my shortcomings as a coach: I have high expectations and high standards, and I am passionate about coaching our gymnasts to realize their full potential," Geddert said. "Sometimes the intensity is challenging — both for our gymnasts and their coaches." 

An Indianapolis Star investigation of USA Gymnastics, begun in 2016, uncovered widespread sexual abuse of athletes by coaches and others and failures to alert authorities. The IndyStar, part of the USA TODAY Network, revealed the first allegations of abuse by Larry Nassar and triggered a criminal prosecution that led to his imprisonment.

Nassar’s third and final sentencing concluded Monday in Eaton County. Nassar will serve 60 years on federal child pornography charges, and concurrent sentences of 40 to 175 years and 40 to 125 years in Ingham County and Eaton County, respectively. More than 260 women have told law enforcement they were abused by Nassar.

Contact Christopher Haxel at 517-377-1261 or chaxel@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisHaxel.