Cheerleaders were sexually abused by coaches in South Carolina, new lawsuit alleges

Written by on September 3, 2022

  • A brand new federal lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by a number of cheerleading coaches in South Carolina, together with the late Rockstar Cheer founder Scott Foster.
  • Foster solicited intercourse and specific pictures from athletes beneath his care, the lawsuit, filed on Thursday in Greenville, says.
  • The Thursday criticism is the second lawsuit to degree allegations of misconduct towards Foster and Rockstar Cheer in three days.

GREENVILLE, S.C. – A number of cheerleading coaches have been accused of a variety of misconduct and illicit sexual habits with minors in a new federal lawsuit filed in South Carolina.

Among the many coaches is Rockstar Cheer founder Scott Foster, who died by suicide final week. Foster is accused of soliciting intercourse and specific pictures from athletes beneath his care. Nevertheless his habits, the lawsuit alleges, is a symptom of a a lot wider drawback.

The swimsuit, filed Thursday in Greenville, South Carolina, names a number of defendants – together with Foster’s property, his widow Kathy Foster, Rockstar Cheer and Dance Inc., nationwide cheerleading organizations, the USA All Star Federation and Varsity Spirit LLC, and company entities Charlesbank Capital Companions and Bain Capital. In keeping with the lawsuit, Bain purchased Varsity Spirit from Charlesbank in 2018.

In over 44 pages, the criticism, filed on behalf of six nameless plaintiffs by attorneys from Strom Regulation Agency, particulars an exploitative system with little accountability that “created, organized and propagated a system of young-athlete abuse towards harmless victims.” 

Investigations:Inside the USA TODAY investigation into cheerleading industry and Jerry Harris’ crimes  

What’s alleged within the new lawsuit?

“This was a manufacturing facility of abuse designed particularly to generate two issues: a relentless provide of underage victims for Scott Foster and his fellow predators and a billion greenback income stream to Varsity Spirit, USASF and Bain Capital,” stated Strom legal professional Bakari Sellers. “As an alternative of defending these younger women and men, they victimized them and cashed their checks.”

The lawsuit names 9 counts of motion, together with gross negligence, negligent supervision, assault and battery and “racketeering exercise,” amongst others. 

The criticism additionally comprises graphic allegations of “baby sexual exploitation” by Foster and different coaches, including rape, the availability of medicine and alcohol to underage athletes, and the creation and dissemination of “obscene supplies involving minors,” each female and male. 

Backstory:‘Cheer’ deals with Jerry Harris’ arrest, but it was USA TODAY reporters who exposed the sport’s problem. Here’s how.  

Investigations:Cheer coaches, athletes continue to work in sport despite sexual misconduct allegations  

A few of the alleged victims educated at Foster’s gymnasium in Greer, South Carolina. In different circumstances, Foster, a cheer coach of nationwide renown, linked with athletes through social media, in accordance with the lawsuit. In a minimum of one case, the lawsuit claims, this connection led to sexual encounters at a number of competitions. 

Different coaches accused in lawsuit, however none named

The lawsuit alleges the defendants had been conscious of “severe and disturbing allegations” towards not solely Scott Foster, however “lots of the Varsity coaches.” 

The opposite coaches accused of sexual abuse should not named, however Sellers stated his agency supposed to file “successive circumstances with extra victims,” together with “allegations towards different gyms and coaches.” 

A few of the coaches but to be named, Sellers stated, are primarily based at Rockstar Cheer. 

The Strom criticism is the second lawsuit to degree allegations of misconduct towards Foster and Rockstar Cheer within the house of three days. The primary, filed Tuesday in Greenville County, alleged Foster “persuaded” an underage lady to have intercourse with him after an change of inappropriate communications on Snapchat. 

Earlier reporting:Lawsuit claims Rockstar Cheer founder Scott Foster ‘persuaded’ girl into sex  

USASF, Varsity Spirit additionally named in swimsuit

The preliminary swimsuit additionally named USASF and Varsity Spirit among the many defendants, accusing them of failing to appropriately handle complaints of misbehavior by Foster earlier than and through the alleged abuse. 

Forward of the lawsuits, Varsity Spirt and USASF launched statements addressing the allegations. 

“Scott Foster is accused of abhorrent prison, predatory conduct. The alleged conduct runs counter to the whole lot the cheer and dance group is meant to characterize… We’re devastated for anybody who has been impacted by the egregious conduct and violation of belief his alleged habits represents,” stated Varsity Spirit’s president, Invoice Seely, in an announcement Tuesday. 

In an identical assertion launched Aug. 30, USASF stated the group wouldn’t touch upon particular allegations to “permit regulation enforcement to appropriately examine,” and it inspired anybody with data of allegations to report it to regulation enforcement in addition to the group. 

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Neither Varsity Spirit nor USASF responded to direct calls or emails from The Greenville Information, a part of the USA TODAY Community, over the previous week with reference to prior complaints made about Foster or Rockstar Cheer to the respective organizations. 

Foster, 49, was discovered lifeless in his car with a gunshot wound on Aug. 22 at Paris Mountain State Park, in accordance with the Greenville County Coroner’s Workplace. His loss of life was dominated a suicide. 

In keeping with the second lawsuit, on the time of his loss of life Foster “had just lately discovered of an investigation towards him by the Division of Homeland Safety associated to allegations that he was sexually abusing underage athletes, in addition to taking underage athletes throughout state strains for the needs of partaking in intercourse.”

When reached by The Greenville Information, a spokesperson for the Division of Homeland Safety would neither affirm nor deny any such investigation.

Unique:Female troops saw the highest level of unwanted sexual contact since Pentagon began collecting data

Observe Clare Amari on Twitter @Amari_Clare.


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