GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Attorneys with Strom Law Firm and James Bannister of Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC held a press conference Tuesday morning to answer questions about legal action the firms plan to take against Rockstar Cheer, Varsity Spirit and the U.S. All Star Federation (USASF).
This comes after multiple law firms announced legal action, alleging sexual misconduct, against the Greenville-based cheerleading and dance school just days after its owner, Scott Foster, died. The Greenville County Coroner’s Office said Foster took his own life on August 22.
Strom Law Firm said it is representing “multiple victims” regarding “incidents that go back 20 years with countless potential victims.”
“These institutions convinced parents, guarans and caretakers that, ‘We will take care of your children,'” said Jessica Fickling, an attorney for the Strom Law Firm. “Instead, they physically, sexually and mentally abused them.”
According to the attorneys, they were first alerted about the alleged abuse about two months ago when children came forward. Since then, they said they have uncovered evidence that this abuse occurred in Greenville County and during competitions that were out of town.
“They were assaulted at tournaments that were ran by Varsity Spirit that were sanctioned by USASF in hotel rooms and bathrooms,” said Bakari Sellers, an attorney for the Strom Law Firm.
The attorneys claimed the founder of Rockstar Cheer, Scott Foster, was part of the abuse.
“Mr. Foster, on numerous occasions, pried young women with alcohol and marijuana,” explained Sellers. “We have instances of Mr. Foster not only having sex but groping young women. We have a video of Scott Foster on Snapchat with beer bongs drinking with his underage cheerleaders.”
But, they believe there were other abusers as well as people who covered up the abuse.
“They went to great lengths to hush, silence and intimidate the people that were victimized,” explained Alexandra Benevento, an attorney for the Strom Law Firm.
“I think there are others individuals who engaged in sexual abuse,” said James Bannister of Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC. “We also think there were other individuals who knew what was going on and facilitated in bringing girls in and out to put them in a position where they were compromised.”
According to the attorneys, state and federal agencies are investigating Rockstar Cheer. The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office told 7NEWS it “can’t confirm” if it is investigating these allegations. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said it is “not involved.” A spokesperson for DHS told 7NEWS Monday they were not able to reveal if a person is under investigation.
The attorneys also said law enforcement has some of Foster’s computers and personal communication devices in their custody.
“We anticipate there will be some more evidence coming from that,” said Bannister.
7NEWS asked the attorneys if children attending Rockstar Cheer could still be in danger.
“We don’t know because we haven’t finished the investigation, and we don’t know who other perpetrators may be,” said Bannister. “We know there’s at least one more out there. Whether those individuals are at or employed at other facilities, we just don’t know. I would urge parents to be very cautious and mindful to understand that just because there’s a certification at a gym, it may or mat not be a green-light gym.”
Kathy Foster, Scott Foster’s wife, released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
I am heartbroken by the recent allegations made by current and former athletes from Rockstar Cheer and other cheer gyms across our community. I hope the survivors are seeking and receive the support they need. I am sympathetic to their stories, and will cooperate with all involved to make sure our athletes learn and grow in a safe environment.
At this time, I am focusing on providing needed support to my children, as they come to terms with the loss of their father.Kathy Foster
Rockstar Cheer has several locations throughout the southeast, as well as in Arizona, Ohio and Rhode Island.
The owners of Rockstar Cheer franchises across the country released a joint statement Monday, saying they will be changing their name and rebranding in light of the accusations against Foster.