Decorated Coach Accused of Molesting Preteen Gymnast

Police reportedly found thousands of images of child porn, too
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2015 4:32 PM CDT
Decorated Coach Accused of Molesting Preteen Gymnast
Gymnastics coach Marvin Sharp hugs gymnast Bridget Sloan during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Sharp was arrested Sunday on charges he molested a preteen gymnast and possessed child pornography.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

An Olympic gymnastics coach was arrested Sunday on charges of molesting a preteen gymnast and keeping thousands of sexual images of young girls and boys in a safe at his home and a file cabinet at his gymnasium in Indianapolis, the Indy Star reports. Marvin Sharp, 48, coached two female Olympians at the 2008 games in Beijing and was named a USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year in 2010. Now, a 14-year-old former student of Sharp's tells police he started inappropriately touching and photographing her when she was 12. The girl says the alleged molestation occurred during physical therapy sessions at Sharp's Gymnastics Academy and during an out-of-state gymnastics trip. The alleged child porn was subsequently found in a raid.

CBS4 reports Sharp's arrest came as a shock to many, with some refusing to believe the charges. One woman tells CBS she's known Sharp for 15 years and doesn't believe any of the allegations are true, saying, "He’s probably, of all the coaches I have ever come across, the least likely I would ever think to do something like he’s being accused of." A coach at the Gymnastics Academy also says she "stands by" him and adds, "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." But a number of parents are pulling their children from classes, with one mother telling WTHR the allegations make her "sick." Sharp is being charged with multiple felony counts of child molestation, sexual misconduct with a minor, and child pornography. (More gymnastics stories.)

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