Olympic Gymnastics Coach Accused of Molestation Found Dead in Jail

by Tim Stelloh /  / Updated 
Image: Marvin Sharp was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Womens Gymnastics team.
Image: Marvin Sharp was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Womens Gymnastics team.USOC / MCT via Getty Images

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An Olympic gymnastics coach facing child molestation and sexual misconduct charges in Indianapolis was found dead in his jail cell on Saturday night in an apparent suicide, authorities said.

The coach, Marvin Sharp, 49, was discovered just after 8 p.m. at the county jail where he was being held, Marion County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Katie Carlson said. Authorities believe he committed suicide, she said.

Image: Marvin Sharp was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Womens Gymnastics team.
Image: Marvin Sharp was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Womens Gymnastics team.USOC / MCT via Getty Images

Sharp was arrested last month after authorities raided his home and found thousands of video and image files containing child pornography, NBC affiliate WTHR reported.

Sharp, who opened Sharp’s Gymnastics Academy 14 years ago, sent over 100 athletes to national championships, according to the academy’s website.

In 2008, two of his gymnasts — Samantha Peszek and Bridget Sloan — won silver medals at the Olympic games in Bejing.

According to criminal court documents, one young student described a recent two-year period when Sharp took "hundreds if not thousands of photos of her in various poses."

Sharp would allegedly touch her inappropriately, the documents say, and at one point he asked her to wear a straightjacket.

In an interview with police, Sharp confirmed the photo-shoots but described the photographs as "muscle pictures" and said the student’s mother authorized them, according to the documents. Sharp told police he did not mean to make the student "feel uncomfortable," the documents say.

Sharp was being held on four counts each of child molestation and sexual conduct with a minor, according to jail records. He was booked on Aug. 24.

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