Former Michigan State gymnast Lindsey Lemke says that John Geddert—the former Olympic coach who worked closely with Larry Nassar and suddenly announced his retirement this week, after USA Gymnastics suspended him—threatened her after she spoke in court about the abuse she experienced at his gym.
Geddert operated the Twistars USA Gymnastics Club, where Nassar volunteered as a doctor and sexually abused many girls and women through the “medical treatments” he administered. (Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison today after pleading guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct.) Lemke gave a victim impact statement last week as part of Nassar’s sentencing, and she specifically called out Geddert for being complicit in the doctor’s abuse and for being abusive himself. She began training at Twistars when she was seven years old.
“He would take girls by the shoulders, squeeze hard enough to leave marks, shake them and yell directly into their face,” she said. “There was specifically one time where he picked up the vault hand mat and hit me with it because I couldn’t get my vault right that day, and this was already after I had crashed into the vault hard enough to bruise and bleed.”
On Wednesday, after Nassar’s sentence was handed down, Lemke said during a news conference that she believes Geddert deserves a criminal investigation of his own. As first reported by ESPN, Geddert has been investigated by police for abuse of his gymnasts twice.
Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu tweeted at Lemke on Wednesday evening to say that she heard Geddert threatened the 22-year-old after she came forward about her time at Twistars. Lemke retweeted Moceanu’s comment and responded, saying that she had heard correctly:
Moceanu came forward earlier this week with an email that Geddert sent her years ago accusing her of “stab[bing] this sport in the back” for being willing to call out an emotionally abusive culture in gymnastics.
Lemke was not the only woman to mention Geddert during Nassar’s sentencing, as several others described how he allowed Nassar’s abuse to happen while being manipulative and cruel himself. “You told me to kill myself not just once, but many other times,” former Twistars gymnast Makayla Thrush said to Geddert. “After you ended my career, I tried.”
“He was abusive,” Lemke said of Geddert during Wednesday’s news conference. “He needs to be in jail with Larry.”