More coaches named in South Carolina cheerleader abuse suit

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A lawsuit alleging the rampant sexual abuse of underage athletes at a aggressive cheerleading fitness center in South Carolina has been amended to call six extra coaches as defendants and three extra accusers.

The accusers — now seven feminine and two male — say within the federal lawsuit amended Thursday that they have been sexually abused by coaches at Rockstar Cheerleading and Dance in Greenville, which is within the northwestern nook of the state. The accusers’ attorneys allege that sexual abuse on the fitness center may date again twenty years and that there could possibly be 100 extra victims who have not come ahead.

One of many plaintiffs’ attorneys, Bakari Sellers, likened the case to that of Larry Nassar, the previous USA Gymnastics and Michigan State College physician who’s serving a minimal of 40 years in jail after admitting that he molested a number of the nation’s prime gymnasts for years.

Not one of the Rockstar coaches have been charged and The Related Press is just not naming them. State and federal legislation enforcement companies are investigating the fitness center and different cheerleading shops and have seized computer systems, cellphones and different proof, one of many accusers’ attorneys, James Bannister, mentioned earlier this month. He mentioned the companies requested attorneys to not determine them.

In response to the lawsuit, the abuse ranged from rape and compelled oral intercourse to molestation and pressuring youngsters as younger as 13 to ship nude images of themselves to coaches. The lawsuit additionally particulars cases during which coaches gave college students alcohol and hashish at their properties and in lodge rooms throughout cheerleading competitions.

The allegations first centered on the fitness center’s founder, Scott Foster, who was discovered lifeless in his automobile on Aug. 22. The coroner decided he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the pinnacle.

Kathy Foster, his widow, introduced in earlier this month that Rockstar Cheerleading and Dance would shut “indefinitely.”

“Though this was a troublesome determination, I imagine it’s the most suitable choice below the circumstances,” Foster mentioned in an announcement reported by native NBC affiliate WYFF. “Over the previous 15 years, our unimaginable athletes have labored onerous to construct a successful legacy and I’ll all the time be extraordinarily pleased with every of them. I ask for privateness for my youngsters and for these personally affected throughout this troublesome time.”

The amended go well with particulars a number of cases during which it alleges that athletes have been abused exterior of South Carolina at occasions sanctioned by Varsity Spirit, which runs competitions, and the U.S. All Star Federation, the nation’s cheerleading governing physique.

Varsity Spirit President Invoice Seely mentioned in a Sept. 1 assertion that the accusations detailed “abhorrent prison, predatory conduct” and have been “devastating to listen to.” In an Aug. 30 assertion, USASF mentioned the group was “devastated to study of allegations about potential abuse.” The assertion declined to touch upon developments whereas legislation enforcement investigations are underway and reiterated that members ought to report any allegations.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys mentioned they count on to file extra lawsuits naming different perpetrators at different gyms across the nation.

“We’re speaking about severe repeated abuse that was reported to everybody together with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Division,” legal professional Bakari Sellers mentioned in an announcement. “For Varsity Spirit, the USASF and Bain Capital, these survivors didn’t matter. Their checks did. They did nothing to cease this abuse then and so they’re doing nothing now.”

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