Gymnastics coach Marvin Sharp found dead in jail cell

Marvin Sharp

Marvin Sharp, a gymnastics coach arrested last month on child molestation charges, apparently committed suicide in the Marion County Jail Saturday night.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office says Sharp, 49 years old, was found unresponsive at 8:17 pm on Saturday inside his cell in the Marion County Jail, as a result of an apparent suicide. No foul play is suspected.

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.

Sharp was arrested on August 24th, 2015. He was being held on four counts of Child Molestation, and four counts of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor. He is also facing federal charges.

Sharp was accused of molesting a girl he was coaching for two years. She was 12 years old when the alleged abuse started, and a report described numerous occasions involving molestation. The girl said she was afraid Sharp would hurt her or kick her out of the gym if she didn't go along with it. Read more about the allegations Sharp was facing.

The charges stemmed from a raid on Sharp's home in August. Thousands of files containing child pornography, including image files and a video, were found during the raid.

Read the federal complaint here.

Read the state charges here.


Between 2013 and 2015, when the alleged victim was between the ages of 12 to 14, the girl told investigators Sharp took hundreds "if not thousands" of photos of her in various outfits and poses during four or five photo shoots. In one photo, she said Sharp asked her to spread her legs, which seemed both "inappropriate and creepy" to her. She also described Sharp having her wear a black bra and underwear and a straightjacket during one of the shoots.

The girl told police that Sharp would often "fix her underwear." Instead of letting her do it herself, she said that Sharp would put his fingers inside the underwear and on her genitals. She said this occurred at all of the photo shoots. She also said that Sharp, who told her she no longer needed to see her physical therapist because he could take care of it, had touched her inappropriately on many occasions. Her report also said that Sharp wouldn't let her wear underwear with her leotard at practice although all of the other girls did. He told her on at least three occasions that he didn't like seeing the lines of her underwear.

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 the girl's reports, Sharp also conducted photo shoots with younger gymnasts who were 5- and 7 years old. The girl told investigators that the 5-year-old said she'd been put into a white dress without any underwear and photographed.

During competitions that required overnight stays, the girl said Sharp would insist on getting connecting rooms with a door in the middle, and he would leave the door between the rooms open at night. On another occasion, the girl said Sharp made her sit in his lap while he drove around an abandoned parking lot and asked her if she wanted him to teach her how to drive.

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