Gymnastics coach Marvin Sharp was facing new child pornography charges at time of death

Marvin Sharp
Gymnastics coach Marvin Sharp was facing new child pornography charges at time of death
Gymnastics coach Marvin Sharp found dead in jail cell

Indianapolis Metro Police are investigating the apparent suicide of former Olympic Coach of the Year Marvin Sharp.

Sharp was found dead Saturday night at the Marion County Jail. It's the second death at the jail in s month.

Administrators at the jail were tight-lipped about the death of Sharp, calling it "unfortunate." No one will say if Sharp was on suicide watch or not.

Sharp's death comes just days after federal investigators filed nine new charges of producing pornography against him after discovering photos dating back to 2002.

An August raid on Sharp's home turned up numerous files of child pornography. The raid was prompted by a report from a former student who Sharp had been coaching for two years. She claimed that Sharp molested her on several occasions and would take inappropriate photos of her in a studio he set up at his gym.

Read more about the original allegations Sharp was facing.

The 49-year-old was found unresponsive in his cell at 8:17 pm Saturday. The Marion County Sheriff's Department says it's the result of an apparent suicide and no foul play is suspected.

Sharp's death comes five days after federal investigators filed the new charges of producing child pornography.

The photos prompting the new charges are of girls, some of them former gym students, between the ages of six and twelve years old. At least four are Sharp's former students.

One of the alleged victims, now an adult, remembered the photo shoot and told investigators that Sharp would adjust her clothing as she posed.

According to the amended complaint, "There are more than 125 images of identified minor children under 12 years old from Sharp’s Gym, with their genital or pubic area nude or exposed."

Read more about the nine additional charges here.

The Marion County Sheriff's Department says the circumstances surrounding Sharp's death are under review.

A spokesman tells 13 Investigates the sheriff is trying to hire more jail staff after an expert told the agency it needed 60 more employees.

"We always make sure we have coverage through overtime or through the staffing that we have. We always make sure all the posts are covered in the jail," said Col. Louis Dezlan of the Marion County Sheriffs Department. "But if someone is intent on doing harm to themselves it's very very difficult to keep them from doing that," he explained.

Col. Dezlan said the guards in the jail have been working overtime to fill the gaps in staffing.

Sharp's reported suicide is raising questions about high profile inmates dying in custody at the Marion County Jail.

The Marion County coroner says the cause of death for Marvin Sharp is pending toxicology results.

About the nine new child pornography charges:

In all cases, Sharp asked to take pictures of the girls. It doesn't appear that the girls' parents were present during the photo shoots. Sharp allegedly showed the parents photos from the shoot that appeared to be appropriate, but kept others for himself that showed the genitals or pubic area.

The girls were wearing leotards, adult dress shirts, sundresses, swim suits and various other clothing in the photo shoots. In at least a couple of cases, the photos showed girls jumping in dresses without underwear.

According to court documents, Sharp took hundreds of photos of some of the girls, although it was a much smaller number of photos in which their private areas were exposed. (For example, of 425 photos Sharp took of one victim, 15 were inappropriate.) In all, investigators found over 125 images of children under 12 from Sharp's Gym that showed their private parts exposed.

Sharp was also found to be in possession of pornography that showed toddlers in sexually explicit conduct. Investigators say Sharp had been collecting photos of child pornography for "a very long period of time."

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