One of several cheerleading coaches accused of sexual abuse in South Carolina was found dead in his car earlier this month. (False images)
Multiple cheerleading coaches in South Carolina, including a coach who recently committed suicide, sexually abused at least six boys and girls and provided them with drugs and alcohol, a federal lawsuit alleges.
A “coven of sexual predators” surrounded Greenville’s Rockstar Cheer for more than a decade, according to one of the attorneys for the alleged victims.
Attorney Bakari Sellers argues that what happened is the result of the same kind of institutional failure seen in the case of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician serving a minimum of 40 years in prison. after admitting that he sexually abused some of the best gymnasts in the country for years.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday by four girls and two boys who said they were abused by Scott Foster and others affiliated with Rockstar gyms. He suggests there could be up to 100 more survivors of the abuse.
“Scott Foster and his allies went to great lengths to intimidate and isolate their targets, making these young men feel alone and somehow responsible. Well, you’re not alone anymore,” attorney Jessica Fickling said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
Foster, 49, was found dead in his car at a state park on August 22. He shot himself in the head, the Greenville County Coroner’s Office ruled.
“He knew this would be a time when the light would shine on what I believe will turn out to be a coven of sexual predators surrounding Rockstar,” attorney James Bannister said.
Several people knew Foster was abusing her cheerleaders and either ignored him or had no rules or procedures in place to stop the abuse, the suit says.
Foster and other coaches not named in the lawsuit had sex with student cheerleaders, sent and requested explicit photos on social media, provided them with alcohol and marijuana in their homes and hotel rooms at cheerleading competitions, and warned them not to They will tell no one. according to demand.
“We have a video of Scott Foster on Snapchat with beer bongs drinking with his underage cheerleaders,” Sellers said at a news conference this week.
The lawsuit also names Varsity Brands, which organizes cheerleading competitions; the USA All Star Federation, which is a governing body and organizer for competitive cheerleading across the country; Bain Capital, which bought Varsity in 2018, and others.
State and federal police are investigating Foster’s Rockstar Cheer and other cheerleading outlets, seizing computers, cell phones and other evidence, Bannister said. He said the investigating agencies asked the lawyers not to identify them.
Various state and federal agencies have refused to tell the media if they are involved.
Foster’s wife, Kathy, promised to cooperate with “everyone involved” to make sure athletes can learn and grow safely.
“I am heartbroken by the recent allegations made by current and former athletes from Rockstar Cheer and other cheerleading gyms in our community,” she said in a statement released this week. “I hope survivors are seeking and receiving the support they need. I sympathize with their stories.”
Varsity Brands president Bill Seely called the allegations devastating.
“Our hearts are broken along with yours,” he tweeted Thursday. “The alleged conduct goes against everything the cheerleading and dance community purports to stand for.”
Bain Capital did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The Rockstar Cheer name is on more than a dozen gyms in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Arizona.
Ten of the gyms said in a statement this week that they had no connection to Foster and would drop the Rockstar brand.
Foster opened his gym in Greenville in 2007, according to his website.
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