The Cheerleading Industry Is Facing A Flood Of Sexual Harassment Lawsuits, Some Involving Minors And Pornography.

Teens say they were sexually abused and given alcohol and drugs with the full knowledge of coaches in the competitive world of cheerleading

A growing number of sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against celebrity cheerleader trainers and gyms across the country, including allegations that cheerleaders have been sexually assaulted and sometimes exploited.

The plaintiffs, referred to in the complaints only as John Doe’s, are primarily young male cheerleaders who claim they were subjected to systemic coercion, sexual abuse and exploitation as minors while on the competitive cheerleading circuit.

Many of the coaches accused in the lawsuits, such as Dominick Frizzell, Jason McCartney and Scott Foster, were considered “fans” with large social media followings and television appearances.

Foster, owner of the Rockstar Cheer gym in South Carolina, committed suicide in August, according to the allegations and lawsuit.

One recent complaint (PDF), filed in late October, details how, as an underage teenager, the cheerleader was forced to have sex with an older coach, received sexually explicit photos and advances from other coaches, and was given cocaine. Many of those incidents occurred in front of other coaches, gym staff and cheerleaders, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The defendants in the lawsuit are Varsity Brands, LLC, Varsity Spirit, LLC, U.S. All Star Federation (USASF), USA Cheer, Charlesbank Capital Partners, LP, Bain Capital, LP, Jeff Web, Cheer Extreme Raleigh, LLC, Kelly Helton, Randall Helton, Chase Burris and Shawn Wilson.

Sexual Abuse Allegations

Plaintiff alleges the abuse began just a year after he joined Cheer Extreme Raleigh to cheer for the Elite Worlds team. It was then that an older male coach began a sexual relationship with him after convincing him to join the team through conversations on social media. This may interest you : Man City manager Pep Guardiola’s reaction to Erling Haaland’s hat-trick is incredible. The boy was about 15 or 16 years old at the time.

According to the plaintiff, everyone at Cheer Extreme Raleigh knew or should have known that the inappropriate contact had occurred.

“On regular occasions, Plaintiff John Doe 1 socialized with the senior coach and other coaches, owners, and administrators from Cheer Extreme, including Defendant Kelly Helton and Defendants Burris and Wilson, where the coach petted Plaintiff John Doe 1. , hug him and hug him touch it in front of other Cheer Extreme adults,” the lawsuit states. “Around the same time, a coach from Cheer Extreme Kernersville found Plaintiff John Doe 1 on snapchat and began sending him nude photos.”

He says that at least once an unnamed adult coach pressured him to use cocaine.

The story is very similar to other lawsuits filed in recent months in lawsuits involving at least 15 victims who were allegedly sexually abused by 14 different coaches at several well-known cheerleading gyms across the country.

Another complaint (PDF) filed against Foster on Oct. 11, two months after his death, alleges that Foster knew the 15-year-old was being sexually abused by another coach and provided him with alcohol, cigarettes and cocaine.

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Sexual Assault Problem Across the Cheerleading Industry

The revelations and lawsuits have rocked the cheerleading industry, which faces allegations that coaches ignored clear signs of sexual abuse of minors while raking in obscene profits by forcing parents to pay for hotels, equipment, lessons and transportation; at inflated prices. See the article : Watch the 2022 Colts Cheerleaders Final Audition Showcase live on Colts.com or in person at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, May 7..

In August, the American All Star Association, which manages and administers cheerleading competitions across the country, issued a press release (PDF) addressing the complaints and urging its members to report cases of alleged abuse.

“We continue to work to promote safety for all of our members and help them understand that they must report any allegations to law enforcement as well as the USASF,” the press release states. “If you know something, don’t assume it has been communicated. This assumption is often the reason things go unreported and therefore uninvestigated.

Critics of the organization, including many plaintiffs, say there is little chance the organization was unaware of a culture of sexual abuse and that it rarely investigated or responded to reports when they were made. The group declined to comment on the specific allegations of the lawsuits themselves, as the national organization is a defendant in many, if not all, of the lawsuits filed so far.

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Sexual Abuse of Minors in Sports

The cheerleaders’ sexual abuse lawsuits mirror allegations made in similar complaints filed in recent years throughout the gymnastics industry. To see also : Jon Gruden lawsuit: Las Vegas judge’s order says NFL can force former Raiders coach into arbitration.

In December, USA Gymnastics reached a $380 million settlement with more than 500 victims of sexual abuse by former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

According to the testimony of more than 150 women and girls, Nassar sexually abused young gymnasts during medical examinations since at least the early 1990s in his role as team doctor and assistant professor at MSU and medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics.

Many of the women, who call themselves Sister Survivors, say they told USA Gymnastics officials, Michigan State University (MSU) staff and others about Nassar’s behavior but were discouraged from reporting the incidents. Some testimony even suggested that officials told survivors that they simply did not know the difference between a sexual assault and a medical examination. But when victims began to come forward, the abuse finally got too much attention and Nassar was arrested, tried and found guilty on multiple charges.

Similar allegations have been made against the Jr. programs. ROTC and the Olympic diving industry.

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