Mothers detail sexual abuse in competitive cheerleading as SC lawyers target third country

Posted Nov 4, 2022 9:23 a.m. EDT

As a single mother of two, she worked multiple jobs so her daughters could compete for a major cheerleading gym, Rockstar Cheer and Dance in Greenville. She even worked part-time at the gym.

But a casual conversation in the car about a trainer quickly became concerning.

“I said, ‘he just seems like a nice guy’ and my daughter said, ‘Mom, that’s not what you think’.”

The mother stopped and searched for details, until her daughter finally revealed that the coach, she praised, had forced her to perform a sex act when she was 13. Another trainer, the girl said, touched her inappropriately and sent her sexually explicit photos.

The mother says her daughter, now an adult, still suffers emotional trauma from the abuse eight years ago.

“I paid for someone to kill my daughter’s childhood.”

The mother, whose name is not used to protect her daughter’s identity, says reports to authorities and the cheerleading governing body were ignored.

Now these two Rockstar trainers and several others are named in a series of federal civil lawsuits. Lawsuits filed in South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina allege not only that coaches sexually abused minors, but that gyms and some of the top cheerleading institutions engaged in a civil conspiracy by failing to arrest him. not.

At Rockstar alone, a dozen male and female cheerleaders say they were supplied with drugs and alcohol, and sexually abused in cars, hotels and private homes.

“What they are going through is unimaginable,” says lawyer Bakari Sellers, of the Strom law firm in Colombia. He is one of the attorneys who filed a lawsuit against Rockstar.

The Greenville gymnasium closed after the lawsuit was filed in September and following the suicide of its owner in August. Sellers say the owner killed himself after learning he was under federal investigation.

Sellers and his team have since filed a similar lawsuit in Tennessee. It alleges that a trainer at Premier Athletics Knoxville West gymnasium sexually abused two boys.

The 15-year-old mother of one of the boys says she only learned of the abuse in September. Her son was physically threatened if he said so. She, too, says she reported the abuse to the cheerleading governing body, but has yet to hear of an investigation.

“I have never felt such injustice and such rage,” says the mother who is not identified to protect her son.

A Premier lawyer said the gymnasium had been wrongfully implicated, adding that the coach had been fired.

Another lawsuit filed last week in North Carolina alleges that a teenager at the Extreme Cheer Allstars gym in Raleigh was given cocaine by one trainer and sexually abused by another. The suit indicates that the boy’s complaint to a third coach was ignored.

The owner of Extreme Cheer says the gym has no comment.

It is important to note that no criminal charges have been filed against the individuals or companies named in these lawsuits.

Attorney Alexandra Benevento, who works with Sellers, says the team has received more than 100 calls from people also reporting abuse at these gyms and others across the country. But, she says, trainers and gyms aren’t the only ones to blame for the abuse of minors.

“They were also wronged by these companies who not only did nothing about it, but decided they were going to protect themselves rather than protect children,” says Benevento.

She says one such company is Varsity. The lawsuits accuse him and others of engaging in a civil conspiracy by failing to protect minors.

A multi-billion dollar company, Varsity is the dominant business force in cheerleading in the United States, hosting competitions and selling apparel. Lawyers say Varsity also controls cheerleading’s governing body, the U.S. All Star Federation, or USASF.

The USASF, according to the lawsuits, did not respond to multiple reports of abuse with questionable coaches continuing to teach or moving to other gyms.

“It’s a structure put in place to give a sense of security,” says lawyer Jessica Fickling who also works with sellers.

“Maybe it could work that way. It just doesn’t work that way.”

University spokesman Tom Becker denies the charges. He says Varsity does not control the USASF and would expect it to investigate allegations of abuse.

USASF did not respond to calls and emails.

Lawyers say they expect to bring more lawsuits in other states.

Is cheer the hardest sport?

Not only is it competitive, but it’s also physically demanding. As a former cheerleader myself, I know firsthand how rigorous it can be. To see also : I tried on my old fan uniforms a decade later – the top was a nightmare to take off and the shorts were…. Cheerleaders train as hard as any other athlete. They spend the same amount of time running routines to make sure they are executed perfectly.

Which sport is more difficult, joy or gymnastics? Artistic gymnastics is more difficult than cheering for most athletes. There are significant overlaps in skills and conditioning. It is also comparing competitive gymnastics to competitive cheering. Taking a one hour gym class once a week is certainly no more difficult than being part of a senior 5 cheer squad.

What is the most difficult number 1 sport?

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Is cheer tryouts hard?

Whether it’s high school joy, stars, or college, essays can be stressful. Read also : Heath Farwell: “I’m very confident.” | Press conference. You have to land your tumbling, stick your stunts, execute your jumps, all while trying to make it look pretty and effortless in front of a panel of judges.

What happens during cheer trials? A standard trial will include learning and performing a few cheers and possibly a short dance, basic jumps, stunting or tumbling. When and where tryouts are held: Tryouts are often held after school or in the evening, depending on when coaches are available.

How well do you do on cheer trials? 11 tips for cheerleading tryouts

  • 1). Train early – several months in advance if possible. …
  • 2). Exercise and eat healthy. …
  • 3). Attend your trial meeting and take notes. …
  • 4). Ask the coach for a sample score sheet and use it in your training. …
  • 5). Practice learning the choreography quickly. …
  • 6). …
  • seven). …
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