Rockstar Gym Closes Amid Cheerleader Sex Abuse Allegations and Owner’s Suicide
A widely known cheerleading gym has shut down following allegations that cheerleaders were sexually abused, and the suicide of the gym’s owner and founder.
According to a report by Greenville News, published on November 12, Rockstar Cheer and Dance Gym faces at least five sexual abuse lawsuits from male and female cheerleaders, and the gym announced it is closing its doors after Scott Foster, the owner, committed suicide in August when the allegations became public.
Plaintiffs in the growing number of cheerleader sex abuse lawsuits, filed against various gyms across the U.S., say Foster knew minors were involved in sexual relationships with coaches. Complaints involving Rockstar Gym said not only did Foster turn a blind eye, but he tried to persuade an underage girl training at the gym to have sex with him, and he also provided alcohol and drugs to minors.
The revelations and lawsuits have shaken the cheerleading industry, which faces accusations of ignoring obvious signs of sexual misconduct by coaches involving minors, while raking in obscene profits by forcing parents to pay for hotels, equipment, lessons and transportation; at inflated prices.
The first lawsuit, filed in August, involved an underage female who trained at the gym, but most have involved male cheerleaders who say there is a culture of sexual abuse of minors by coaches throughout the industry.
The five cheerleader lawsuits filed so far which specifically name Rockstar Gym and Foster as defendants, and involve 13 plaintiffs who level various accusations at the popular gym, including rape, drug and alcohol use, inappropriate touching, and sending nude photos to minors.
Rockstar Gym was the home of 14 all-star cheerleading teams, and Foster was a coach recognized worldwide for his teams’ performances. Foster founded Rockstar Cheer & Dance in 2007.
Sexual Abuse of Minors in Sports
Allegations raised in the cheerleading sexual abuse lawsuits mirror those presented in similar complaints brought in recent years throughout the gymnastics industry.
In December, USA Gymnastics reached a $380 million settlement with more than 500 survivors of sexual abuse by former Olympics gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar.
According to testimony presented by more than 150 women and girls, Nassar sexually molested young female gymnasts during medical examinations since at least the early 1990s in his role as a team physician and assistant professor at MSU, and as a USA Gymnastics Medical Coordinator.
Many of the women, who call themselves the Sister Survivors, indicate they told USA Gymnastics officials, Michigan State University (MSU) staff, and others about Nassar’s behavior, but were discouraged from reporting the incidents. Some testimony even suggested officials told the survivors they simply did not know the difference between sexual assault and a medical examination. However, after victims began to step forward publicly, the abuse finally got over-due attention and Nassar was arrested, tried, and found guilty on multiple charges.
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