Former US gymnastics coach John Gaddard is the second Olympic coach to commit suicide after being accused of using a young gymnast in a relationship with serial abuser Larry Nasser.
Gedert’s body was found Thursday afternoon on Interstate 96 in Clinton County, Mich. He was charged with 24 counts, including human trafficking, sexual assault, rape and lying to police. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a written statement that Gaddard, who was an Olympic coach in 2012, took his own life.
He is not the first. Indianapolis gymnastics coach Marvinvin Sharp committed suicide in Marion County (Indiana) prison in 2014 when he was charged with indecent assault on a 14-year-old gymnast. Investigators also found images of child pornography. He was the Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics Olympic Coach in 2006 and the National Board of Directors Coach of the Year in 2010.
Both Gaddard and Sharp had a clear connection to the story of Larry Nasser, a veteran doctor for the US gymnastics team serving 175 years in prison. NASA worked and traveled with the 2008 and 2012 Olympic teams.
Nassar pleaded guilty to state and federal charges in the 2017 Ass Indices investigation that revealed the first sexual harassment allegations against him. Many former gymnasts have accused more than 500 women of sexual harassment on the pretext of finally treating NASA. There were some accusations against the defendants, called Twisters, at the Gaddarts gym.
Gaddard and NASA met working at a gym in Michigan, and their careers became intertwined when they both reached the top of the sport. NASA, an osteopathic physician who works in sports medicine at Michigan State University, also volunteered at Twister, a gym owned by Gaddard where he treated a young gymnast for injuries.
In 2017, 18 victims filed a federal lawsuit against NASA, MSU, USA Gymnastics, and Twisters Gymnastics Club for sexual harassment, assault, abuse, and stalking between 1996 and 2016.
In an April 2011 Dateline NBC interview, Olympic gold medalist McKella Maruni said that she told Gaddart and several other gymnasts about an incident in which Nassar “went overboard” in 2011. This example of abuse is made you realize that something was wrong.
Meruni told Dateline Geddard to get out of the car and she showed no reaction, but the other gymnasts gasped.
It was also in 2011 that the Indiana gymnastics coach sent an email expressing his concern for then-US gymnastics president and CEO Steve Penny Sharp. He described the minor’s inappropriate contact and warned him not to be around children.
But Indyster’s investigation revealed that Penny did not investigate the allegations or report them to police, unless a teenage girl and her mother filed a complaint against Sharp. During that period, Sharp continues to take inappropriate photographs of underage girls in his gym.
In both cases, there was a culture of privacy in the sport that ultimately allowed NASA to flee after abusing girls for decades.