New lawsuit brings cheerleading sexual abuse scandal to sixth state
CLEVELAND, OH (FOX Carolina) - The sex abuse scandal sweeping the competitive cheer world has now spread to Ohio.
A South Carolina law firm filed another federal lawsuit alleging abuse at the hands of coaches.
It’s the 12th lawsuit to come out since Rockstar Cheer coach and founder Scott Foster took his own life in August. Foster was being investigated for sexual misconduct at the time.
The latest lawsuit is filed on behalf of a John Doe and names cheer choreographers Brandon Hale and Taji Davis.
It says John Doe’s cheer gym in Ohio hired Hale and Davis in 2014 and the coaches began messaging John Doe on an app. He was 15 years old at the time.
The lawsuit then says in 2016, Hale and Davis came back to Ohio and invited John Doe to their hotel.
Doe, now 17, was reluctant, but eventually agreed and the lawsuit says the two coaches sexually assaulted him.
John Doe later decided to report the coaches to two cheer gyms. One didn’t respond, but the other reached out to law enforcement.
The lawsuit claims authorities investigated, but said John Doe was above the legal age of consent when the assault happened so no charges were filed.
Cheer safety advocate Kimberly Archie said the system needs to change.
“We have a moral duty, as well as a legal duty, to protect child athletes and so just because it’s the age of consent doesn’t make it right,” Archie said. “Because this is someone with authority over a child act.”
Cheer officials also investigated the incident. During that time they put the coaches on a suspension list, but ultimately they came off the list and were allowed to go back to gyms.
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