A federal lawsuit claims that multiple cheerleading coaches in South Carolina, including one who recently committed suicide, sexually abused at least six boys and girls and provided them with drugs and alcohol.
According to one of the lawyers for the alleged victims, a “coven of sexual predators” surrounded Rockstar Cheer of Greenville for more than a decade.
Attorney Bakari Sellers believes that what occurred was the result of the same type of institutional failure seen in the case of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor who is serving a minimum of 40 years in prison after admitting to sexually abusing some of the country’s top gymnasts for years.
Four girls and two boys filed the lawsuit on Thursday, alleging that Scott Foster and others associated with Rockstar gyms abused them. It is possible that there are up to 100 more survivors of the abuse.
“Scott Foster and his associates did everything they could to intimidate and isolate their targets, making these young people feel alone and responsible.” “They’re no longer alone,” said attorney Jessica Fickling in a statement announcing the suit.
On August 22, Foster, 49, was discovered dead in his car at a state park. According to the Greenville County Coroner’s Office, he shot himself in the head.
“He knew this was going to be the moment when the spotlight would be shined on what I believe will turn out to be a coven of sexual predators surrounding Rockstar,” attorney James Bannister said.
According to the lawsuit, a number of people either knew Foster was abusing his cheerleaders and ignored it, or did not have rules and procedures in place to stop the abuse.
According to the lawsuit, Foster and other coaches not named in the lawsuit had sex with cheer students, sent and asked for explicit photos on social media, gave them alcohol and marijuana at their homes and in hotel rooms at cheer competitions, and warned them not to tell anyone about it.
“We have video on Snapchat of Scott Foster drinking with his underage cheerleaders while using beer bongs,” Sellers said at a news conference this week.
The suit also names Varsity Brands, which organizes cheerleading competitions; the United States All Star Federation, which is the organizing and governing body for competitive cheerleading across the country; and Bain Capital, which purchased Varsity in 2018.
According to Bannister, state and federal authorities are investigating Foster’s Rockstar Cheer and other cheerleading establishments, seizing computers, cellphones, and other evidence. He stated that the investigating agencies requested that lawyers not identify them.
Several state and federal agencies have refused to say whether they are involved or not.
Kathy Foster, Foster’s wife, promised to work with “all involved” to ensure athletes can learn and compete safely.
“I am heartbroken by recent allegations made by current and former athletes from Rockstar Cheer and other cheer gyms throughout our community,” she said in a statement issued this week. “I hope the survivors seek and receive the help they require.” “I sympathize with their stories.”
The accusations were devastating, according to Varsity Brands President Bill Seely.
“Our hearts are broken alongside yours,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “The alleged behavior contradicts everything the cheer and dance community is meant to represent.”
More than a dozen gyms in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Arizona bear the name Rockstar Cheer. In a statement issued this week, ten of the gyms stated that they had no affiliation with Foster and would discontinue use of the Rockstar brand.
According to his website, Foster opened his Greenville gym in 2007.