Twistars Gymnastics Club owner John Geddert is in a court battle with an insurance company over who should pay $75,000 worth of legal damages to the women who were sexually abused at the gym by convicted doctor Larry Nassar.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in August of 2017, State Farm Insurance says it’s not obligated to defend or compensate the Gedderts or Twistars against the allegations detailed in nine pending lawsuits under any of Geddert’s policies with the insurance company.
Those lawsuits accuse Geddert of failing to protect gymnasts from Nassar’s sexual abuse, despite concerns brought to him by parents and gymnasts, some as early as 1998.
“Due to the inactions and/or inaction of Mr. Geddert and Twistars, Dr. Gerald Nassar (SIC) was able to sexually molest and abuse multiple victims while acting as a physician, employee and/or agent at Twistars, and/or that Dr. Nassar used Twistars’ facilities to molest and abuse his victims,” the lawsuit claims.
Geddert is a big name in the gymnastics community for many reasons, among them, for having served as the head coach of the USA Gymnastics team during the 2012 Olympics. He led the “Fierce Five” – as they became known – to the team gold medal.
The former Olympic coach and Twistars are also among the many co-defendants named in a massive lawsuit against Michigan State University, several current and former members of its staff and USA Gymnastics.
The lawsuit was brought by more than 250 women and girls who were sexually abused by Nassar during medical treatments.
Even though MSU, Twistars, and USA Gymmastics continue to renew motions to dismiss the cases, MSU agreed to return to mediation late last month in an effort to try and reach a settlement between the two parties. They have until the second week of May to reach a resolution.
Geddert’s attorney says the claims brought forward by the women are invalid because the statute of limitations expired, according to court records.
6 News reached out to the attorney representing the Gedderts and Twistars in this lawsuit, but has not heard back.
Lawsuits say Geddert and his wife Kathryn deny knowing about Nassar’s conduct and claim they did not engage in any inappropriate or improper behavior. Court documents also claim that Geddert is among the many people “fooled” by Nassar and that it does not give rise to liability.
However, State Farm claims that under Geddert’s first, old, and current Homeowners policies as well as his Umbrella policy, it is not required or obligated to defend Twistars in the lawsuits brought against it.
In fact, documents reveal that Twistars isn’t even insured under any of Geddert’s policies.
But that’s not the only reason why the insurance company says it’s not required to defend Geddert.
Lawsuits accuse the former Olympic coach of not taking any action after being warned about Nassar’s abuse and instead, allowed him to continue seeing patients at Twistars which allowed the molestation and abuse to continue.
Under the terms of each policy, the insurance company says those alleged actions exclude Geddert from coverage.
“Mr. Geddert and Twistars are also alleged to have committed fraud, to have misrepresented material facts, and to have intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon the plaintiffs in the underlying cases,” the lawsuit claims.
6 News also reached out to the attorney representing State Farm Insurance in this case, but has not heard back.
Nassar is currently serving his 60-year prison sentence in Arizona after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography. He also faces another 40 to 175 years on top of that sentence for admitting to sexually abusing his patients under the guise of medical treatment.
Shortly after the former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor was sentenced in the third and final case against him, the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office re-opened a criminal investigation into Geddert.
According to police records obtained by 6 News, in March of 2017, MSU Police heard accusations of child abuse against Geddert, who had been the owner of the popular club for more than a decade.
A few weeks before police launched the investigation, Geddert transferred Twistars ownership into his wife’s name.
Online records from the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs show Kathryn Geddert is now the gym’s president and residential agent.
Geddert’s coaching tactics came up repeatedly during Nassar’s sentencing hearing in both Ingham and Eaton Counties. Dozens of women detailed how abused by both Nassar and Geddert has affected their lives to this day, citing medical diagnoses including but not limited to, PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
One parent of a gymnast who spoke to 6 News anonymously, out of fear of retaliation, said Geddert required gymnasts to see Nassar for treatment and would not accept doctor’s notes from anyone else.
A judge recently granted an extension for John and Kathryn Geddert to respond to this amended complaint by May 11, 2018.
6 News will continue to follow this story and provide updates as we get them.