Rockstar Cheer founder, coaches sexually abused cheerleaders: lawsuit – USA TODAY

Share Article

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Multiple cheerleading coaches have been accused of a wide range of misconduct and illicit sexual behavior with minors in a new federal lawsuit filed in South Carolina.
Among the coaches is Rockstar Cheer founder Scott Foster, who died by suicide last week. Foster is accused of soliciting sex and explicit photographs from athletes under his care. However his behavior, the lawsuit alleges, is a symptom of a much wider problem.
The suit, filed Thursday in Greenville, South Carolina, names several defendants – including Foster’s estate, his widow Kathy Foster, Rockstar Cheer and Dance Inc., national cheerleading organizations, the United States All Star Federation and Varsity Spirit LLC, and corporate entities Charlesbank Capital Partners and Bain Capital. According to the lawsuit, Bain bought Varsity Spirit from Charlesbank in 2018.
In over 44 pages, the complaint, filed on behalf of six anonymous plaintiffs by attorneys from Strom Law Firm, details an exploitative system with little accountability that “created, organized and propagated a system of young-athlete abuse against innocent victims.” 
Investigations:Inside the USA TODAY investigation into cheerleading industry and Jerry Harris’ crimes  
“This was a factory of abuse designed specifically to generate two things: a constant supply of underage victims for Scott Foster and his fellow predators and a billion dollar revenue stream to Varsity Spirit, USASF and Bain Capital,” said Strom attorney Bakari Sellers. “Instead of protecting these young men and women, they victimized them and cashed their checks.”
The lawsuit names nine counts of action, including gross negligence, negligent supervision, assault and battery and “racketeering activity,” among others. 
The complaint also contains graphic allegations of “child sexual exploitation” by Foster and other coaches, including rape, the provision of drugs and alcohol to underage athletes, and the creation and dissemination of “obscene materials involving minors,” both male and female. 
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  
Some of the alleged victims trained at Foster’s gym in Greer, South Carolina. In other cases, Foster, a cheer coach of national renown, connected with athletes via social media, according to the lawsuit. In at least one case, the lawsuit claims, this connection led to sexual encounters at multiple competitions. 
The lawsuit alleges the defendants were aware of “serious and disturbing allegations” against not only Scott Foster, but “many of the Varsity coaches.” 
The other coaches accused of sexual abuse are not named, but Sellers said his firm intended to file “successive cases with more victims,” including “allegations against other gyms and coaches.” 
Some of the coaches yet to be named, Sellers said, are based at Rockstar Cheer. 
The Strom complaint is the second lawsuit to level allegations of misconduct against Foster and Rockstar Cheer in the space of three days. The first, filed Tuesday in Greenville County, alleged Foster “persuaded” an underage girl to have sex with him after an exchange of inappropriate communications on Snapchat. 
Previous reporting:Lawsuit claims Rockstar Cheer founder Scott Foster ‘persuaded’ girl into sex  
The initial suit also named USASF and Varsity Spirit among the defendants, accusing them of failing to appropriately address complaints of misbehavior by Foster before and during the alleged abuse. 
Ahead of the lawsuits, Varsity Spirt and USASF released statements addressing the allegations. 
“Scott Foster is accused of abhorrent criminal, predatory conduct. The alleged conduct runs counter to everything the cheer and dance community is intended to represent… We are devastated for anyone who has been impacted by the egregious conduct and violation of trust his alleged behavior represents,” said Varsity Spirit’s president, Bill Seely, in a statement Tuesday. 
In a similar statement released Aug. 30, USASF said the organization would not comment on specific allegations to “allow law enforcement to appropriately investigate,” and it encouraged anyone with knowledge of allegations to report it to law enforcement as well as the organization. 
What’s everyone talking about? Sign up for our trending newsletter to get the latest news of the day  
Neither Varsity Spirit nor USASF responded to direct calls or emails from The Greenville News, part of the USA TODAY Network, over the past week in regards to prior complaints made about Foster or Rockstar Cheer to the respective organizations. 
Foster, 49, was found dead in his vehicle with a gunshot wound on Aug. 22 at Paris Mountain State Park, according to the Greenville County Coroner’s Office. His death was ruled a suicide. 
According to the second lawsuit, at the time of his death Foster “had recently learned of an investigation against him by the Department of Homeland Security related to allegations that he was sexually abusing underage athletes, as well as taking underage athletes across state lines for the purposes of engaging in sex.”
When reached by The Greenville News, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security would neither confirm nor deny any such investigation.
Exclusive:Female troops saw the highest level of unwanted sexual contact since Pentagon began collecting data
Follow Clare Amari on Twitter @Amari_Clare.


You might also like

Surviving 2nd wave of corona

Surviving The 2nd Wave of Corona

‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort