The head coach at an Indianapolis Gymnastics Academy, who was accused of child pornography and molestation, was found dead in his jail cell on Saturday of an apparent suicide, according to CBS News. On August 24, 49-year-old Marvin Sharp, “who coached two members of the 2008 U.S. women’s Olympic team,” was arrested after a 14-year-old girl – who he was coaching at the time – complained to authorities about being fondled by the coach.
Before the girl complained about the inappropriate behavior, an investigation was already in progress. In 2013, the young girl – whose name will not be released due to legal reasons – reported her coach to Indianapolis police officials after he took hundreds, “if not thousands” of inappropriate photos of her during a photo shoot. At one point, the coach asked her to wear a black bra and underwear and wear a straightjacket. On another occasion, he asked her to spread her legs as he took photos of her.
“The girl described another occasion where Sharp was supposed to be working on physical therapy with her. He allegedly had her change out of her leotard and into gym shorts, but did not allow her to put on underwear. He then allegedly put his hand down the top of the girl’s shorts,” according to WTHR. The 14-year-old girl wasn’t his only victim, however, he had also taken hundreds of inappropriate photos of five and seven-year-old children.
Sharp was not arrested until the young girl came forward and complained about him touching her inappropriately, which prompted a search. Police officials discovered child pornography in his computer, which was found in his home during a police search.
“I stand by Marvin,” said Gymnastics Academy Coach Michele Callahan, who believed Sharp was innocent of the crime. “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.”
Another woman – who requested to remain anonymous – claims she knew Sharp for more than 15 years and is having a difficult time believing the allegations to be true. “He’s probably, of all the coaches I have come across, the least likely I would ever think to do something like he’s being accused of.”
The gymnastics coach was arrested and charged with “four counts of child molestation and three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.” Nearly a month later, he was found dead in his jail cell of an apparent suicide — police officials declined to release how he died, but claim they don’t suspect foul play.
An investigation is underway.
[Image via YouTube screen capture]