Gymnastics coach accused of child molestation found dead

Posted By: PTI
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Indianapolis, Sep 21: An Indianapolis gymnastics coach who trained two members of the 2008 US women's Olympics team was found dead of an apparent suicide in his jail cell, where he was being held on charges of child pornography and molestation, authorities have said.

Marvin Sharp, 49, was found unresponsive at 8:17 pm (local time) on Saturday in his cell at the Marion County Jail, sheriff's spokeswoman Katie Carlson said in a statement yesterday.


She said foul play isn't suspected, but that she couldn't provide further information. "A follow up investigation is being conducted by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Marion County Coroner's Office," Carlson said.

Sharp, who was the USA Gymnastics 2010 Coach of the Year, was arrested on August 24 on four local counts of child molestation and three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Federal prosecutors, in a superseding indictment filed September 14, also charged Sharp with nine counts of producing child pornography since 2002 involving six female students as young as 6 or 7 years old.

"These minor girls have been identified as former gymnasts that trained at Sharp's gym and participated in photo shoots with Marvin Sharp," Detective Darin Odler said in an affidavit. Odler is an Indianapolis police officer assigned to an FBI task force on violent crimes against children.

Sharp earlier had been charged with knowingly receiving child pornography and knowingly possessing child pornography. According to the charging documents, investigators found thousands of sexually explicit images of minors in locked safes in his Indianapolis home and at his business, Sharp's Gymnastics Academy.

The academy also had a photography studio. Messages seeking comment were left yesterday at the academy and with Sharp's attorney, Jim Voyles.

A probable cause affidavit filed with the local charges last month stated Sharp repeatedly fondled or touched a girl he had coached and that the abuse began when she was 12 and continued for about two years.


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