Rockstar Cheer, cheerleading health club primarily based in South Carolina, embroiled in sexual abuse scandal

A once-prominent cheerleading health club in South Carolina is on the heart of a rising scandal wherein its founder died by suicide, its doorways have shuttered and an rising variety of coaches are being accused of sexual abuse and misconduct.

The saga began with the Aug. 22 suicide of famend cheerleading coach Scott Foster, 49, the founding father of Rockstar Cheer and Dance Inc. in Greenville County, South Carolina.

He was discovered useless in his automotive with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the top, the Greenville County Coroner’s Workplace mentioned. His demise got here after he came upon he was beneath investigation for the alleged abuse of underage athletes, based on legal professionals for his accusers.

Since then, Foster’s property and Rockstar Cheer have been hit with two lawsuits on behalf of a number of nameless accusers, and on Thursday, six coaches have been additionally accused of abuse.

Scott Foster coaches follow at Rockstar Cheer in South Carolina in 2020. Sabrina Schaeffer / USA At this time Community

Lawsuits identify rising variety of coaches

A civil lawsuit was filed Aug. 30 in Greenville County Court docket on behalf of an nameless minor who claims she had sexual encounters with Foster on the health club.

Foster allegedly took an curiosity within the accuser beginning in early 2020 and lasting over the course of a 12 months after she was promoted to the highest tier workforce at Rockstar, the criticism mentioned.

He had a number of communications along with her over Snapchat “that included messages of a sexual nature, nude photos of himself and requests for nude photos,” which she despatched, the criticism mentioned

On a minimum of 10 events, the lady “was persuaded into performing varied sexual acts together with oral and penetrative intercourse with Foster,” which occurred at his dwelling, in his car, at Rockstar’s facility, at resorts throughout competitions and in South Carolina and Florida, the criticism mentioned.

It additionally alleges that Foster supplied the plaintiff with alcohol on a number of of these events. 

The swimsuit named Foster, who had already died on the time; Rockstar Cheer & Dance Inc; U. S. All Star Federation (USASF), the governing physique over the cheer trade; Varsity Spirit, which organizes competitions and camps; and The Nationwide Middle for Security Initiatives (NCSI), which supplies background checks.

The swimsuit accuses Rockstar of failure to conduct a correct background test, failure to correctly prepare and supervise Foster’s efficiency, and failure to forestall sexual misconduct.

On Sept. 1, a federal lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court docket in Greenville, South Carolina, towards Foster’s property, his spouse Kathy Foster, Rockstar Cheer, USASF and Bain Capital, Varsity Spirit’s guardian firm, on behalf of a number of nameless accusers alleging that the defendants knew, or ought to have recognized, about abuse by coaches on the health club.

The swimsuit accused Scott Foster of consuming and doing medicine with minor athletes, sexually abusing them, soliciting nude photos, assault and groping. Kathy Foster is accused within the swimsuit of enabling her husband and in some situations understanding of his habits.   

That federal lawsuit was expanded Sept. 15, including three extra Jane Does.

The amended swimsuit additionally added six coaches as new defendants. All coaches have been described as proteges of Foster, with 5 having beforehand labored at Rockstar.

The coaches have been accused of a variety of inappropriate conduct together with rape, touching, oral intercourse, groping and soliciting nude images or sending nude images and movies to athletes.

The coaches didn’t instantly reply to NBC Information requests for remark. 

‘This didn’t simply occur in a vacuum’

Forward of submitting the swimsuit, Strom legislation agency held a press convention saying they have been representing dozens of survivors, female and male, who ranged in age from minors to being of their 40s and lived throughout the U.S., although most circumstances of alleged abuse have been concentrated in Greenville. Many of the alleged incidents occurred between 2014 and 2019.

On the press convention, lawyer Jessica Finkling mentioned the abuse went past Foster.

“This didn’t simply occur in a vacuum. This was allowed to occur due to energy, unbridled energy the place these people felt comfy making the most of youngsters. That’s what that is about,” she mentioned.

USASF mentioned in a press release it was “devastated” to be taught of the allegations of potential abuse in South Carolina, urging any victims to come back ahead. 

“We respect the central position of legislation enforcement in investigating such experiences, as a part of our dedication to a secure setting for all our members. Supporting USASF members is a precedence. We is not going to touch upon allegations or developments related to this matter to permit legislation enforcement to appropriately examine the allegations,” the assertion mentioned. 

Varsity’s president Invoice Seely additionally issued a assertion saying Foster was accused of “abhorrent legal, predatory conduct.”

“The alleged conduct runs counter to every thing the cheer and dance group is meant to signify,” he mentioned.

NCSI, Bain Capital, and a consultant for Kathy Foster didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the fits. 

Rockstar gyms throughout U.S. reduce ties with identify

Because of the scandal, Foster’s widow introduced that Rockstar Cheer in Greenville County is closing its doorways indefinitely.

“Though this was a troublesome choice, I consider it’s the most suitable choice beneath the circumstances,” Kathy Foster  mentioned in a assertion. “Over the previous 15 years, our unbelievable athletes have labored arduous to construct a successful legacy and I’ll all the time be extraordinarily happy with every of them.”

In an earlier assertion shared with NBC Information, she mentioned she was “heartbroken” by the allegations made by present and former Rockstar athletes. 

“I hope the survivors are searching for and obtain the assist they want. I’m sympathetic to their tales, and can cooperate with all concerned to verify our athletes be taught and develop in a secure setting,” she mentioned.

Including to the blow, 10 cheerleading gyms working with the Rockstar identify in numerous states have severed ties with the model.

“As a bunch of like-minded program house owners beforehand introduced collectively beneath the Rockstar identify, we’re standing collectively collectively to specific our unwavering assist for our youngsters and their dad and mom, and to reiterate our dedication to making sure a secure and constructive cheerleading group,” the health club house owners mentioned in a joint assertion.

The assertion confused that the gyms operated as particular person companies with “full independence.”

Sheriff’s workplace says it didn’t know of alleged abuse

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Workplace launched a press release Thursday night time saying it was unaware of experiences of sexual abuse on the cheer health club.

“The GCSO has not obtained any criticism about Scott Foster or sexual abuse occurring at rock star cheer. The one matter we investigated was his demise investigation,” the workplace mentioned to NBC affiliate WYFF of Greenville.

“We’ve one of many best possible Crimes Towards Kids’s Unit and ICAC unit’s within the nation, and relaxation assured if a criticism of that nature was dropped at our consideration and occurred inside our jurisdiction, we might be conducting an intensive, thorough and well timed investigation.”

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