Cheer Inc.

Cheer Incorporated Scandal: Settlements Reached

Federal judge dismisses cases after parties reach sealed agreements …

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The federal case poised to expose widespread child sex abuse and failed oversight within the American cheerleading industry this spring is no longer on the docket.

Earlier this week, senior U.S. district court judge Henry M. Herlong, Jr. issued an order dismissing the Cheer Incorporated case – the main thrust of a legal phalanx launched in the summer of 2022 following the collapse of the Rockstar Cheer empire.

Herlong’s order (.pdf) noted the Rockstar-related case was “dismissed without cost and without prejudice” based on settlements – the terms of which would be enforced within sixty days of his April 9, 2024 order.

Rockstar became the epicenter of the scandal on August 22, 2022 when its late owner and founder, Scott Foster, committed suicide. Foster died of a “self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.” His body was found by police inside his vehicle at Paris Mountain state park approximately six miles north of downtown Greenville.

The day after Foster’s death hit the news, FITSNews reported the 49-year-old coach was staring down “a multi-jurisdictional investigation into (among other things) allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls.”

We quickly learned it wasn’t just girls. And it wasn’t just Foster. And most importantly … it wasn’t just Rockstar.

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The first federal lawsuit focusing on systemic child sexual abuse within the cheerleading industry was filed in U.S. district court in Greenville, S.C. in September 2022 on behalf of four Jane Does and two John Does. Three additional federal lawsuits followed in South Carolina and the scope of the scandal quickly expanded to multiple other states – ensnaring more gyms and coaches.

According to court documents, one settlement has been reached with Rockstar, Foster’s estate and his widow, Kathy Foster (.pdf) while another has been reached with the U.S. All-Star Federation (USASF), the governing body for All-Star cheerleading in the United States (.pdf).

Previous settlements were reached with Varsity – a Tennessee-based company which has made billions of dollars selling cheerleading clothing and organizing cheerleading and dance camps/ competitions across the country.

Last summer, Herlong applied pressure on attorneys regarding the case.

“We’re going to try this case sooner rather than later,” the veteran judge said during an August 2023 hearing. “It’s going to trial before the end of 2024.”

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RELATED | FORMER ROCKSTAR COACH DETAINED BY FEDS

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Herlong also imposed an expedited mediation schedule at the August hearing in an effort to get the parties to the settlement table – a tactic which appears to have broken open a logjam in negotiations.

Who benefited, though? Terms of the two settlements were not disclosed, however sources familiar with the discussions indicated the USASF deal was for “seven figures” and encompassed nearly three dozen victims. These victims were classified into different “tiers” based on the extent of the abuse they suffered – and, of apparent import, when the abuse took place.

Is that fair? Is it equitable? Is it justice?

As with the terms of a similar secret settlement reached between the victims and Varsity several months ago, we’ll never know the answer to those questions …

While accountability on the civil side of the equation has proven elusive – recent reports indicate the criminal investigation into Rockstar-related matters is ongoing. Count on this media outlet – which led the coverage of the Cheer Incorporated scandal – to continue to keep our audience in the loop on the latest developments in this case.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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1 comment

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The Colonel Top fan April 12, 2024 at 10:11 am

Sorry Jenn, knowing what we know, anyone who lets their child participate in this organized child abuse is themselves guilty of child abuse.

Varsity is part sex slavery, part Ponzi scheme and in no part a place where children belong.

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