Once again, an Indianapolis coach is in the news for child molestation.
Marvin Sharp, owner of Sharp Gymnastics and an “elite gymnastics coach,” was arrested after the Crimes Against Children unit of the IMPD raided his home Sunday evening. According to wthr.com, Sharp’s “list of accomplishments is long, including USA Artistic Coach of the year [and] USA Gymnastics Elite National Coach of the Year.” According to the USA Gymnastics website, he also coached the 2009 World All Around Champion.
I’m sick for the parents who trusted their sons and daughters to this man, but sadly, I am not surprised by his actions. Although most of my work has focused on abusive coaches in swimming, we know that this happens in every sport. And we know that the NGBs for each different sport know about it, too. It isn’t that coaches have all of a sudden started abusing their athletes — it’s just that they’re starting to get caught.
Although there are very few details about what exactly Marvin Sharp did to get himself arrested for child molestation, we can make some general assumptions. The betrayal that his athletes and their families will feel, particularly those involved, is surely immense. If my child went to Sharp Gymnastics, I would feel not only betrayed, but hurt, pissed off, disgusted, and I’d probably feel a little guilty for not seeing it coming. But this is not the parents’ fault, and it is most certainly not the fault of a child, adolescent, or teenager. This is Marvin Sharp’s fault, and any adults in USA Gymnastics who knew or suspected something, but did nothing because Marvin Sharp produced World Champion gymnasts (and I KNOW they’re out there), are no less culpable.