Gymnastic Coach Accused Of Child Molestation Found Dead Of Apparent Suicide

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Marvin L. Sharp.Marvin L. Sharp.

Accused child molester Marvin L. Sharp, 49, was found dead in his cell at Marion County Jail in Indiana on Sept. 19. 

Sharp, an award-winning gymnastics coach, was being held on four counts of child molestation and three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. Authorities believe he committed suicide. No foul play is suspected, but officials have not said how he committed suicide, the Indianapolis Star reported.

"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,” Katie Carlson, spokeswoman for the Marion County Sheriff's Office, said in a statement.

Sharp came under suspicion for child molestation after a 14-year-old gymnastics student alleged he had been molesting her since she was 12. The teen also claimed he took hundreds "if not thousands” of photos of her, many of which were of a sexual nature, WTHR reported. 

Authorities said they later raided his home and business and found thousands of pornographic images featuring children. Although it remains unclear if Sharp took those images, he was arrested on Aug. 24. According to a federal complaint, Sharp had been receiving child pornography since 2005. 

Sharp won the Coach of the Year award from USA Gymnastics in 2010. He died on the organization's 17th annual National Gymnastics Day.

"USA Gymnastics is aware of the untimely death of Marvin Sharp,” the organization said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all involved in this tragic set of circumstances.”

Sources: The Indianapolis Star, WTHR

Photo credit: Marion County Sheriff's Office via WTHR, Michelle Pemberton/The Star