Federal Lawsuit filed by The Survivors of The Cheer Sexual and Physical Abuse Scandal
Helping USASF Cheer Gym Victims Obtain Civil Justice
Those who prey upon the least vulnerable among us, the children who need our protection, should pay the price, both criminally and financially. Child sexual abuse is an unimaginable and heartbreaking act, especially when committed by trusted coaches in a sport where athletes and their parents have sacrificed their time and financial resources to participate. USASF has been aware for years that the sport was fraught with abuse at the hands of coaches with questionable backgrounds and should be protecting these children from any sort of harm, including sexual abuse. When these officials and the companies who fund them have failed to protect children from sexual abuse, they should be held accountable. If you, your child, or a loved one has suffered from sexual abuse at the hands of a USASF Cheer Gym coach or employee, you may have standing to bring a claim for compensation against the individual, the gym, the USASF, Varsity, and the private equity firms that fund them, in addition to any criminal charges. Contact the experienced and compassionate USASF Cheer Gym Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Strom Law Firm today.
What Constitutes Child Sexual Abuse?
Legally, ethically, and morally, children are unable to consent to sexual activity. Anybody who commits any sort of sexual act upon a child is a criminal. The law offers multiple ways of holding such behavior accountable. One such accountability is provided by criminal law, and results in charges being pressed against the offender. In addition to criminal charges, a victim may file a civil lawsuit against a sexual predator and seek financial compensation for the suffering endured by that person. In addition, groups with the ability to supervise, manage, and monitor these predators may also be responsible. These groups have the resources to provide adequate protection for our children, and in some instances may have been funded by the very children that they allow to be victimized. The attorneys at Strom Law Firm excel at representing clients in vulnerable situations, and are here to help your family navigate this difficult process.
Child sexual abuse presents itself by a variety of inappropriate and disgusting acts. Not all child abuse is physical in nature:
- Digital communications, like sharing sexual photos over the internet
- Any possession, distribution, or creation of child pornography
- Requesting nude photos or videos of inappropriate acts via social media
- Sex trafficking of children
- Sexual intercourse and other sexual acts
- Exposure of private parts to a minor
- Masturbation by or in front of a child
Sexual predators know that children are vulnerable, and will convince them to keep the abuse a secret from parents and others of authority. Sexual predators within the USASF cheer community may even convince the child that it is their duty to keep it a secret. This behavior is called grooming, and it is a well-known tactic of predators, making it all the more important for groups charged with oversight of these adults to adequately do their jobs. Some signs to keep an eye out for are:
- Sudden changes to your child’s genital area or anus – Any sort of symptoms that might be consistent with sexually transmitted diseases (STD), bleeding, or complaints of pain.
- Changes in behavior – Of course, mood swings among children and teenagers are common, but keep an eye out for significant changes in behavior such as self-harm, starting fires, changes in appetite accompanied by weight loss or weight gain, or running away.
- Troubling behavior on social media – If you are seeing promiscuous or sexual behavior in posts or direct messages on your child’s social media apps or in text messages, this is often a sign that someone has been engaged in inappropriate and illegal communication with your child.
- Increasingly poor hygiene – If your child is refusing to shower or wear clean clothes, it may be a sign that something more is going on.
Sadly, when child sexual abuse occurs, it is usually carried out by a person that the child knows and trusts. As many as 93% of childhood victims know the person who abuses them.
South Carolina Statute of Limitations on Child Sex Abuse Cases
In basic terms, a statute of limitations is a time limit placed on when a party is allowed to file a lawsuit. Many factors can go into determining at what point the time limit set by a statute of limitations begins to count. Child sex abuse victims must file a lawsuit by whichever is the later of these two dates:
- Six years after the victim’s 21st birthday
- Three years after the victim realizes that an injury was caused by the abuse
This statute of limitations recognizes the unique concerns and realities surrounding sexual abuse of cheer athletes by coaches. It can take years to discover an injury that is mentally or physically related to child sex abuse. Memories of sexual abuse are, many times, suppressed by the victim as a way to cope with their suffering. Sometimes, victims do not fully remember the sexual abuse suffered at their abuser’s hands until decades after the attacks.
If the time comes that you are ready to hold your USASF Cheer Gym sexual abuser accountable, no matter your age, contact Strom Law Firm today. We will fight to hold the abuser and the organization accountable.
Organizations Often Deny, Ignore, or Cover-Up Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse at USASF Cheer Gym
Sadly, it appears a concerted effort was undertaken by USASF to cover up abuse of minors by trusted coaches and trainers. The unique relationship between the abused, their family, and the cheer organization allowed USASF to hide this behavior.
No organization should worry more about their reputation or financial position than the well-being of the children they are supposed to represent. If you have been victimized by a child sex predator, no matter your current age, contact a sexual abuse attorney today, and we will examine all of your options.
Responsible Parties for USASF Cheer Gym Abuse Injuries
Gym Owners & Coaches
Those who operate USASF certified gyms and coach minors in the sport are responsible for their actions, including sexual abuse of children and others. They choose to take advantage of vulnerable children by using the USASF’s design and reputation. This sort of predatory behavior was mostly practiced against trusting children who often don’t understand they were being selected and systemically harmed.
The Varsity controlled the USASF cheer organization and its officials allowed the culture of secretive abuse to develop and expand within the cheer community, over which they hold a monopoly. Understanding many of the unique situations in which coaches, members, and their families would be placed, the USASF officials had the responsibility to take precautions to prevent sexual abuse. Some cheer officials chose to ignore allegations of abuse either failing or ignoring sex offender backgrounds of their coaches, while others chose to simply allow a family member or other close colleague to take over the gym in their name while failing to prevent these problem coaches from accessing new child victims.. There have been numerous opportunities over the years for USASF to stop this behavior and punish those accountable. Time and time again, they chose not to act.
You Are Likely Not the Cheer Coach’s Only Victim
Sexual predator cheer coaches often take advantage of multiple vulnerable children. There is likely someone who is suffering from the pain caused by your abuser’s actions, just like you.
There are resources available to help USASF cheer gym sex abuse victims. RAINN is an organization that exists for this purpose. RAINN offers a hotline for abuse victims to call and seek help and information.
Because sexual predators rarely strike only once, it is important to hold them and their organizations accountable as quickly as possible to prevent additional victims. Contact a USASF Cheer Gym Sexual Abuse Lawyer at Strom Law Firm today to help you deal with the process of holding your abuser accountable. Financial compensation can only go so far in healing your wounds, but our hope is that our support and encouragement will provide you with some healing.
We Are Here to Help USASF Cheer Gym Sexual Abuse Survivors
If you, your child, or another loved one were abused by a USASF Cheer Gym owner, coach, or other employee or official, we are here with the resources and experience to hold these sexual predators accountable. We are ready to fight to the finish with any cheer organization that is choosing to cover up sexual abuse, no matter the size.
If you or a loved one are being abused or were abused as a child, contact us. We offer free case evaluations and we do not collect a fee unless we recover for you. Contact the Cheer Gym Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Strom Law Firm by calling 803-252-4800 and find out if we are able to help you.