Former Olympic 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.
NBC affiliate WTHR reported, Sharp was arrested last month after authorities raided his home and found thousands of video and image files containing child pornography.
According to the academy’s website, Sharp, who opened Sharp’s Gymnastics Academy 14 years ago, sent over 100 athletes to national championships.
In 2008, two of his gymnasts — Samantha Peszek and Bridget Sloan — won silver medals at the Olympic games in Bejing.
Marvin Sharp commits suicide http://t.co/eHjO9yOsHd
— Gymnastics Coaching (@GymCoaching) September 21, 2015
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.
At least one coach and gymnast were defending Sharp before his death, local news station WTTV reported after his August arrest.
“I stand by Marvin. I have never seen him behave in any way whatsoever other than respectfully toward any gymnast. Gymnastics is a sport where its very nature puts male coaches at risk of false accusations,” Michele Callahan, a current coach at Sharp’s Gymnastics Academy, wrote in a statement to the news station.
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.
Sharp’s death came on the annual National Gymnastics Day. The event, which is sponsored by USA Gymnastics, was in its 17th year.