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Marvin Sharp, Gymnastics Coach Facing Molestation, Found Dead

Image: Marvin Sharp, Gymnastics Coach Facing Molestation, Found Dead
Marvin Sharp, USA Gymnastics 2010 Coach of the Year, was arrested on four counts of child molesting and three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. (Marion County Prosecutor's Office)

By    |   Monday, 21 Sep 2015 07:08 AM

Marvin Sharp, the award-winning Indianapolis gymnastics coach accused of molestation, was found dead in his jail cell in an apparent suicide.

Sharp, 49, was found dead in his cell at the Marion County Jail at 8:17 p.m. Saturday, authorities told the Indianapolis Star. Sharp had been arrested on four counts of child molesting and three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

"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," said Katie Carlson, spokeswoman for the Marion County Sheriff's Office, adding that no foul play was suspected.

Authorities raided Sharp's home in August in connection with a child molestation investigation by the state police and eventually took him into custody, reported WTTV.

Sharp was the owner of Sharp's Gymnastics Academy in Indianapolis. He coached U.S. Olympian gymnasts Samantha Peszek and Bridget Sloan along with serving on national and international teams.

"I heard the news. I stand by Marvin," said Michele Callahan, Sharp Gymnastics' current coach at the time of his arrest. "I have never seen him behave in any way whatsoever other than respectfully toward any gymnast."

"Gymnastics is a sport where its very nature puts male coaches at risk of false accusations. I have seen such a thing happen to another coach. I certainly hope this can be cleared up quickly before it affects his very positive and respectable career," Callahan has said.

Sharp was named USA Gymnastics 2010 Coach of the Year, said People magazine.

The investigation into Sharp started when a female gymnast at his academy made a complaint. His arrest came after police searching for child pornography removed computers and other electronics from his home.

Local and federal investigators found thousands of child pornography images at his home and business, said the Star.

A probable cause affidavit filed with the local charges last month stated that 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, according to The Associated Press

Federal prosecutors, in an indictment filed Sept. 14, charged Sharp with nine counts of producing child pornography since 2002 involving six female students as young as 6 or 7 years old, said the AP.

"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 Odier said in an affidavit. Odier is an Indianapolis police officer assigned to an FBI task force on violent crimes against children.

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Marvin Sharp, the award-winning Indianapolis gymnastics coach accused of molestation, was found dead in his jail cell in an apparent suicide.
marvin sharp, gymnastics, coach, molestation, dead
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2015-08-21
Monday, 21 Sep 2015 07:08 AM
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