One of the largest cheerleading companies in the country is denying mass accusations of sexual abuse at gyms spread across the Southeast, James Pollard reports for the Associated Press.
Lawsuits filed by victims who describe abuse by coaches and others at Varsity Spirit gyms across North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee allege that the company fostered unsafe environments at partner gyms, hotels and Varsity-hosted competitions that put participants at risk.
The company denies any responsibility for the alleged assaults, particularly because coaches involved in Varsity Spirit networks and competitions are not employed by the company.
The gyms are represented by Thomas Clare, who has gained public notice lately for his representation of Dominion Voting Systems in defamation cases against Sidney Powell and Rudy Guiliani.
Initial allegations in these cases against Varsity Spirit and the specific coaches and gyms accused in sexual assault allegations were first filed in September. No arrests have been made in the cases so far.
One federal case, filed in the District of South Carolina by a Jane Doe, alleges that Scott Foster, a cheerleading coach and owner of Rockstar Greenville in Greenville, South Carolina, and his wife Kelly Foster, allowed for an environment that led to the abuse and statutory rape of one 15-year-old cheerleader.
The Jane Doe, in a complaint filed in October 2022, describes being brought to a house party by her coaches when she was 15 years old where she was raped by one coach. The next year, she describes another coach as sending her sexual messages and naked photos online.
The complaint describes Scott Foster allegedly making comments to her about having sex with one of the coaches and never intervening. The Doe in this case is the eight Doe to file a complaint against Varsity and other companies for abuse that took place at Rockstar Greenville.
Foster killed himself in August of this year.
Audrey Nielsen is a TCR contributor.