Just over a week after being threatened with legal action by lawyers for Tennessee-based Varsity, the top player in America’s cheerleading industry, lawyers for Columbia, South Carolina-based Strom Law Firm have filed another federal complaint alleging the company is part of a sexual abuse conspiracy. to hide.
The latest lawsuit was filed on behalf of an anonymous John Doe through his mother, Mary Doe, in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, Georgia. It named a familiar array of defendants, including the Varsity and its founder, Jeff Webb, the two governing bodies controlled by the Varsity — the USA All Star Federation (USASF) and the USA Sports Cheering Federation (USA Cheer) — and the two companies that bought the ownership. interests in Varsity, Charlesbank Capital Partners and Bain Capital over the past decade.
So much for Varsity’s “nuclear move” being a warning…
In addition to those defendants, the lawsuit named Marietta Stingray Cheer, a Georgia-based company, its owner, David S. Jones, and three of his employees, Juan Carlos Realpe, Joel Kreider and Robert Stone. According to the complaint (.pdf), Stingray always maintained that Stone, Realpe and Kreider were authorized members of the USASF who followed (its) policies and procedures protecting minors, including John Doe, from physical and sexual abuse. and mental abuse.”
Did they? Not if the allegations in the complaint are true. This may interest you : LOVE WINS: Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader Says ‘Yes’ To Surprise Proposal During Final Game Of Season…
According to the lawsuit, the unnamed male victim began getting pleasure when he was “about twelve years old.” After being recruited to cheer for the Stingrays, Doe — who was fifteen at the time — “moved to the metro Atlanta area to live with Realpe,” the lawsuit alleged.
On December 4, 2020, several months after moving to Atlanta, Doe allegedly “raped” Stone — who the lawsuit described as a “cheerlebrity” during the alleged assault. The incident was known to Realpe, who “did not report it to law enforcement,” according to the complaint.
The alleged rape soon became “widespread” in the Stingray gym, prompting other athletes to seek sex. However, Realpe and Krieder – Doe’s trainer at the time – did not report the sexual assault because Stone was considered one of the top male cheerleaders in the All-Star World and removing her from the competition would have a detrimental effect on the gym. according to the suit.
The incidents were reported to law enforcement on September 19, 2022, when “Mary Doe became aware of the incidents.”
With the Georgia lawsuit filed, Strom’s attorneys have now filed seven lawsuits in four states on behalf of sixteen survivors. Those numbers are expected to increase further in the coming weeks and months as this case expands.
Well, that’s assuming the Varsity’s continued efforts to crack down on these complainants don’t have a “chilling effect” on the survivors.
As with earlier lawsuits filed in Raleigh, North Carolina ( here ), Greenville, S.C. ( here and here ), and Memphis, Tennessee ( here ), the Georgia lawsuits allege a “citizen conspiracy” by defendants linked to the federal government by racketeer-influenced and corrupt organizations. (RICO) Act.
In other words, the attorneys believe they can prove the existence of a “criminal enterprise” in which the defendants participated in a cooperative “pattern of racketeering activity.”
Unlike previous releases, the filing of this lawsuit was not accompanied by press releases from Strom’s attorneys. In fact, none of Strom’s attorneys would comment on the complaint when reached by this reporter Friday afternoon.
Varsity’s newest representative — prominent defamation attorney Thomas A. Clare of the Clare Locke law firm in Alexandria, Virginia — sent a letter to Strom’s lawyer, Bakari Sellers, earlier this month accusing him and his colleagues of “self-aggrandizement and relentless publicity seeking. ” because they were pushing a “false narrative” about the company.
In her letter (.pdf), Clare cited “several false and defamatory statements you and members of your company have made in the press and in court filings, unsupported by any evidence and made in reckless disregard for the truth.”
A spate of lawsuits related to a culture of sexual abuse in the American cheerleading industry began two months ago with the spectacular collapse of Greenville-based Rockstar Cheer.
Rockstar became the epicenter of the Cheer Incorporated scandal on August 22, 2022, when its late owner and founder Scott Foster died by suicide. The day after news broke of Foster’s death, I reported that the 49-year-old coach was overseeing a “multijurisdictional investigation into (among other things) allegations of sexual misconduct involving underage girls.”
We quickly learned that it wasn’t just the girls. And it wasn’t just Foster. And most importantly… it wasn’t just Rockstar.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Special Investigations Unit (HSI) is leading the investigation into the allegations against Foster and other cheerleaders. As of this writing, no criminal charges have been filed in connection with this incident.
THE COMPLAINT …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founder of the news outlet you read now. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the Governor of South Carolina. Read also : Former NFL Cheerleaders Say Peacock’s New Docuseries is Hypocritical. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he wears a lot of hats — including the grayscale Indianapolis Colts cap above.
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