Rockstar Cheer, South Carolina-based cheerleading gym embroiled in sex abuse scandal

A once-prominent South Carolina cheerleading gym is at the center of a growing scandal, with its founder dead by suicide, its doors shuttered and a growing number of coaches facing accusations of sexual misconduct and misconduct.

The saga began with the Aug. 22 suicide of famed cheerleading coach Scott Foster, 49, the founder of Rockstar Cheer and Dance Inc. in Greenville County, South Carolina.

He was found dead in his car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the Greenville County Coroner’s Office said. His death came after he learned he was under investigation for alleged abuse of underage athletes, according to lawyers for his accusers.

Since then, Foster’s estate and Rockstar Cheer have been hit by two lawsuits on behalf of several anonymous accusers, and on Thursday six coaches were also accused of abuse.

Lawsuits name growing number of coaches

Lawsuits name growing number of coaches

A civil lawsuit was filed Aug. On the same subject : Today show Halloween costumes over the years with photos. 30 in Greenville County Court on behalf of an anonymous minor who claims she had sexual encounters with Foster at the gym.

Foster was allegedly interested in the prosecution starting in early 2020 and lasting over a year after she was promoted to the top team at Rockstar, the complaint said.

He had several communications with her over Snapchat “which included messages of a sexual nature, nude photos of himself and requests for nude photos,” which she sent, the complaint said

On at least 10 occasions, the girl was “persuaded to perform various sexual acts, including oral and penetrative sex with Foster,” which took place at his home, in his vehicle, at Rockstar’s facility, in hotels during competitions, and in South Carolina and Florida. said the complaint.

It also alleges that Foster provided the plaintiff with alcohol on several of these occasions.

The suit was named Foster, who was already dead by then; Rockstar Cheer & Dance Inc; the U. S. All Star Federation (USASF), the governing body of the cheer industry; Varsity Spirit, which organizes competitions and camps; and The National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), which provides background checks.

The suit accuses Rockstar of failing to conduct a proper background check, failing to train and monitor Foster’s performance, and failing to prevent sexual misconduct.

On September 1, a federal lawsuit was filed at the U.S. District Court in Greenville, South Carolina, against Foster’s estate, his wife Kathy Foster, Rockstar Cheer, USASF and Bain Capital, Varsity Spirit’s parent company, on behalf of several anonymous plaintiffs alleging that the defendants knew or should have known of abuse by trainers in the gym.

The suit accused Scott Foster of drinking and doing drugs with underage athletes, sexually abusing them, soliciting nude photos, assaulting and groping. Kathy Foster is accused in the case of enabling her husband and in some cases knowing about his behavior.

The federal lawsuit was expanded on September 15, adding three more Jane Does.

The amended suit also added six coaches as new defendants. All trainers were described as proteges of Foster, with five having previously worked at Rockstar.

The coaches were accused of a range of inappropriate behaviour, including rape, touching, oral sex, groping and soliciting nude photos or sending nude photos and videos to athletes.

The coaches did not immediately respond to NBC News’ requests for comment.

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‘This didn’t just happen in a vacuum’

Prior to filing the suit, Strom’s law firm held a press conference in which they said they represented dozens of survivors, men and women, who ranged in age from minors to their 40s and lived across the United States, though most cases of alleged abuse were concentrated. Read also : Hawaii got off to a strong start at the Little League World Series. in Greenville. Most of the alleged incidents took place between 2014 and 2019.

At the press conference, attorney Jessica Finkling said the abuse went beyond Foster.

“This didn’t just happen in a vacuum. This was allowed to happen because of power, unbridled power where these individuals felt comfortable exploiting children. That’s what it’s all about,” she said.

The USASF said in a statement that it was “devastated” to hear of the allegations of potential abuse in South Carolina, and urged any victims to come forward.

“We respect the central role that law enforcement plays in investigating such reports as part of our commitment to a safe environment for all of our members. Supporting USASF members is a priority. We will not comment on allegations or developments in in connection with this case to allow law enforcement to appropriately investigate the allegations,” the statement said.

Varsity President Bill Seely also issued a statement saying Foster was accused of “heinous criminal, outlandish behavior.”

“The alleged conduct is contrary to everything that the cheer and dance community is intended to represent,” he said.

NCSI, Bain Capital and a representative for Kathy Foster did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the cases.

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Rockstar gyms across U.S. cut ties with name

As a result of the scandal, Foster’s widow announced that Rockstar Cheer in Greenville County is closing its doors indefinitely. See the article : Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team: Season 16 Renewal for CMT Series.

“While this was a difficult decision, I believe it is the best option under the circumstances,” Kathy Foster said in a statement. “Over the past 15 years, our incredible athletes have worked hard to build a winning legacy, and I will always be extremely proud of each of them.”

In an earlier statement shared with NBC News, she said she was “devastated” by the allegations from current and former Rockstar athletes.

“I hope the survivors seek and receive the support they need. I am sympathetic to their stories and will work with everyone involved to ensure our athletes learn and grow in a safe environment,” she said.

In addition to the battle, 10 cheerleading gyms operating under the Rockstar name in various states have severed ties with the brand.

“As a group of like-minded program owners formerly united under the Rockstar name, we stand together to express our unwavering support for our children and their parents and to reiterate our commitment to ensuring a safe and positive cheerleading community.” the gym’s owners said in a joint statement.

The statement emphasized that the gyms operated as individual businesses with “full independence.”

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Sheriff’s office says it didn’t know of alleged abuse

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Thursday night saying it was not aware of any reports of sexual abuse at the cheer gym.

“The GCSO has received no complaint about Scott Foster or sexual abuse that occurred at rock star cheer. The only thing we investigated was his death investigation,” the office told NBC affiliate WYFF of Greenville.

“We have one of the absolute best Crimes Against Children’s Units and ICAC units in the country and rest assured that if a complaint of that nature was brought to our attention and occurred within our jurisdiction we would conduct a comprehensive , thorough and timely investigation.”

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