Allegations of abuse against cheerleaders reached Tennessee on Monday in a case that adds to the allegations faced by some of the sport’s top institutions.
An adult trainer sexually assaulted teenage boys at Premier Athletics, according to allegations in a federal lawsuit filed in Memphis, similar to a previous complaint against Rockstar Cheer in South Carolina.
In both cases, attorneys say leaders at Varsity Spirit, which organizes the competitions, and the USA All Star Federation, the nation’s governing body for cheerleading, failed to provide a safe environment for the athletes.
The lawsuit, filed anonymously by two teenagers and the mother of a boy, alleges that a Premier Athletics coach sent nude photos and videos of masturbation and instigated non-consensual sexual acts.
The coach was not charged, and the Associated Press did not name him. USASF did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
In a statement to the AP, Premier Athletics Knoxville West said it was “imprecisely implicated” in the lawsuit, in which most of the allegations occurred before current ownership purchased any gyms.
In the statement, Premier Athletics said it heard on June 26 from an athlete who reported receiving inappropriate photos from the coach. According to the statement, Premier suspended the trainer and immediately filed a report with the local police and the USASF, neither of which substantiated the claim. Premier sacked the coach, according to the statement.
The Premier said it heard on September 18 from an athlete that another athlete had a “physical relationship” with the coach. After reporting this allegation to local police and the USASF, Premier said he had not contacted the alleged victim’s family to avoid charges of interfering with an investigation.
In a statement to the AP, Varsity Spirit said it is outraged that “predators take advantage of cheerleading programs to abuse innocent children” and rejected accusations that it allowed such behavior. Varsity Spirit added that it has never received reports of suspected misconduct and has not owned Premier Athletics or any other academy since August 2021.
Premier Athletics received reports in late May or June, but the coach has continued to access the academy this month, according to the boys in the lawsuit.
Even after the USASF added the trainer to its ineligible list, the boys allege, he continued to participate in private lessons with minors on the academy’s premises. In a July message, the coach told one of the plaintiffs that the gym manager told him he would not be fired, according to the boys in the lawsuit.
Also in July, the USASF sent the coach a report notifying him of the allegations. In the same week, the boys allege in the lawsuit, the coach worked at camps run by the Universal Cheerleaders Association, which was created by Varsity founder Jeff Webb, and remained a Varsity representative.
The boys say in their lawsuit that the USASF and Varsity endangered the athletes by failing to report the misconduct to local authorities.
At a news conference on Tuesday, attorneys for the plaintiffs said “insular” systems within the cheerleading industry make it difficult for athletes to report misconduct. These institutions, the lawyers said, intentionally created a cumbersome process. Advocates noted that local academies must become members of the USASF to participate in varsity competitions.
“Varsity and the companies it empowers have an endowment funded by these athletes,” said attorney Jessica Fickling. “Athletes and their families pay a lot of money to ensure the continuation of this sport. And for that money they are promised that they will be safe, that the environments in which they support, the gyms and competitions, will be safe. And yet these environments are ill-equipped to deal with these kinds of allegations.”
Lawyers for the Strom law firm said Tuesday that they are aware of other potential victims and are looking to expedite this case. Lawyer Alexandra Benevento said the allegations were part of a larger “oversexualized fan culture”.
Lawyer Bakari Sellers also said he prepared documents this weekend for an unnamed federal agency. The lawsuit comes at the end of a month that has troubled cheerleading industry families following similar allegations by plaintiffs represented by the Strom Law Firm against well-known coaches in South Carolina.
“This is not just something that happens in Greenville,” Sellers said. “This is not just something that happens in Knox County. This is something that is happening across the country.”
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Is cheerleading a boy sport?
Cheerleading started out as a men’s sport It wasn’t until World War I that women became cheerleaders while the men were at war. On the same subject : The real estate of St. Louis is a place to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. After the war ended, women were banned from participating in cheerleading teams and the sport reverted to being male.
Is cheerleading a women’s sport? Although women were allowed to participate in cheerleading activity in the 1920s, the transition of cheerleading from a male to female activity did not occur until the 1940s.
Cheerleader is a girl? An overview written on behalf of cheerleaders in 1955 explained that in larger schools, “occasionally, both boys and girls are included,” and in smaller schools, “boys can usually find their place in the athletic program, and it is likely that cheerleading remains exclusively a female occupation”.
Why is cheerleading a women’s sport? During World War II, when men were pulled out of college and put into the military, women in college began to take on the cheerleading role and the nature of the sport began to change. Viewers began to emphasize the cheerleaders’ physical attractiveness more than their athleticism.
What is meant by female objectification?
Objectification is a notion central to feminist theory. This may interest you : 7 Band Names With Word Names So Clever We Have To Explain Them To You Right Now. It can be roughly defined as viewing and/or treating a person, usually a woman, as an object.
What does sexually objectification mean? Sexual objectification refers to the treatment and perception of women as mere objects (Nussbaum, 1995). In this process, the objectified person becomes, in the eyes of observers, an “inhuman body” (Vaes et al., 2014).
Can a woman objectify a man? Heterosexual women sexually objectify men (Strelan & Hargreaves, 2005). We argue, however, that women’s sexual objectification of men is unrelated to their motivation for dominance (eg, see Waynforth, 2001, for an evolutionary explanation).