Memphis cheer companies accused of role in abuse, according to federal lawsuit

Attorney Bakari Sellers discusses Rockstar Cheer lawsuit.
Attorney Bakari Sellers discusses Rockstar Cheer lawsuit.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 9:05 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMC) - Two defendants named in a federal lawsuit against Rockstar Cheer are companies based in Memphis.

A federal lawsuit was filed on Thursday by Storm Law Firm detailing a criminal conspiracy in which teenage athletes suffered abuse from Rockstar Cheer coaches.

The lawsuit alleges that teenage boys and girls were recruited, supplied with drugs and alcohol, and sexually abused by Rockstar Cheer coaches and staff.

Defendants include Rockstar Cheer, Varsity Spirit, the U.S. All Star Federation (USASF), Bain Capital and more, including Rockstar Cheer owners Scott and Kathy Foster.

Both Varsity Spirit and USASF are based in Memphis, Tennessee.

The suit alleges that the defendants knew about the abuse but did not report it. The suit also accuses the defendants of racketeering activity since at least 2003.

In 2003, Varsity Spirit created USASF through a $1.8 million interest-free loan.

Varsity Spirit submitted the original trademark application for USASF and also funds it.

The lawsuit details that Varsity Spirit has been “one of the largest purveyors” of the competitions and camps in which the abuse took place.

“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 attorney Bakari Sellers. “Instead of protecting these young men and women, they victimized them and cashed their checks.”

The lawsuit reads that a single cheer season can, at minimum, cost between $3,000 and $7,000 per team member and that some families spend $20,000 or more for transportation, lodging and entrance fee costs.

The attorneys have confirmed that additional lawsuits are coming and will include additional victims as well as perpetrators and gyms in various jurisdictions across the country.

“Scott Foster and his allies did their best to intimidate and isolate their targets, making these young people feel alone and somehow responsible,” said attorney Jessica Fickling. “Well, they’re not alone anymore. We’re standing with them and we stand with all of the survivors coming forward.”

The case has gained new prominence following news last week that Greenville-based Rockstar Cheer owner and founder, Scott Foster, was the subject of a multi-jurisdictional investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Foster committed suicide on Monday, Aug. 22, while that investigation was underway.

A copy of the lawsuit can be viewed here.

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