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Competitive Cheer Sex Abuse Lawyers

Competitive CheerCheerleading and other youth activities are supposed to be fun, challenging opportunities for your children to grow. While there might be moments when it’s difficult and they want to quit, you’d never expect abuse to be the reason. Child sex abuse reports in competitive cheerleading aren’t new, but an increasing number of competitors and parents alike have come forward to disclose horrible, abusive behavior on the part of coaches and choreographers. To make matters worse, some are claiming that America’s largest cheerleading organization, Varsity Brands, LLC, has enabled cheer sex abuse to happen by failing to penalize perpetrators.

If you’re a victim of cheerleader sexual abuse or the parent of a victim, you’ll need help to make things right. Unfortunately, no one can undo the abuse of power and trust that these victims have experienced. However, it’s possible to bring perpetrators to justice and secure compensation to help pay for therapy and counseling. Contact our child sexual abuse lawyers at 866-778-5500 or complete our online form to take your first step toward justice and getting the help that you deserve.

How Common is Cheer Sex Abuse

Sexual abuse in general and including cheerleading is considered one of the most underreported crimes in our society. According to RAINN, the majority of sexual abuse cases go completely unreported. Since 2020, more than 180 coaches, choreographers, and other adults involved with competitive cheer have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors. While 140 of those received a conviction, very few of them received a ban on continuing to participate in the sport. It’s unknown exactly how bad the wider problem is, but it seems plausible that the reported cases are only the tip of the iceberg.

Who Are The Most Common Perpetrators of Cheer Sex Abuse

Virtually all adults in competitive cheer have more access to and trust with children than others, as well as varying extents of power over those children. As such, more or less every role in the sport has seen cases of sexual misconduct allegations. These include:

  • Coaches and assistants,
  • Private instructors
  • Gym owners
  • Officials
  • Camp counselors
  • Choreographers

Beyond the deeply troubling individual allegations of sexual abuse, there’s an overarching crisis in the background. Namely, all of the major cheerleading institutions in the United States may have been concealing the issue. Not just Varsity Cheer, LLC, but also US All-Star Federation and USA Cheer. Evidence may be surfacing that all of these institutions have been aware of the abuse of young girls and that they’ve prioritized protecting themselves at your children’s expense.

You are not alone.

What Are the Types of Cheerleading Sexual Abuse?

There are many types of activities that predators who perpetrate cheer sex abuse take part in. They often begin by engaging in merely inappropriate behavior, gauging the response and manipulating the child recipient. However, this escalates to crimes such as sexual assault, rape, and coercing the children into serving the creation of child pornography.

The exact definition of sexual assault varies between different states, but it typically covers unwanted sexual contact short of rape. Forced contact with a minor’s genitals, or pressuring them into touching the genitals of an adult are examples of what sexual assault may entail.

Rape generally has a much narrower definition that refers to non-consensual sex and forced penetration. Keep in mind, however, that all states hold that a child cannot consent to sexual activity. Manipulating a child into certain statements or actions does not justify an adult having intercourse with a child, nor does it make it consensual.

One of the other more common sexual misconduct charges in cases of cheer sex abuse is child pornography. Any sexual images depicting a child are child pornography, whether the adult procures them for sale or personal use. It also counts as child pornography whether the adult takes the picture themselves, convinces a child to send them sexual pictures, or attempts to convince them.

Is Sexual Activity Between an Adult and Child Ever Consensual?

No child under the age of majority can ever engage in sexual activity in an adult consensually. Legal consent does not apply to minors, as their brains remain in a developmental state and they rely heavily on the guidance of adults. This imbalanced relationship can be abused by predators for sexual grooming, where they gradually manipulate the victim into engaging in sexual behavior. No sexual consent can exist within this dynamic, which the law recognizes by prohibiting sexual activity between adults and minors.

That said, the age of majority isn’t the same in all states. Some recognize it as 17 or even 16 years of age. Nonetheless, being above the age of majority does not make someone exempt from being groomed by a trusted adult in a position of power. A cheerleader below the age of consent is always a victim of abuse, but cheerleaders above that age may also suffer the same types of abuse.

Can Survivors of Cheerleader Sexual Abuse Sue Their Abusers?

No Fee PromiseThose who’ve survived cheer sex abuse have several avenues by which to pursue justice. Not only can they sue the perpetrator of the abuse, but they may be able to sue organizations such as USA Cheer, the U.S. All-Star Federation, and Varsity Cheer, LLC. The state may bring a criminal suit against the perpetrators to punish them, but you can also pursue a civil suit for economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages refer to all of the monetary damage incurred from the abuse. This includes the cost of therapy and counseling, as well as lost earning capacity. Trauma often makes it difficult for people to hold down a job or succeed in their education, both of which reduce their earning potential. These losses can also be sources of compensation.

On the other hand, non-economic damages are what’s also known as pain and suffering damages. These are specifically for the psychological harm that a person suffers from their abuse and the impact it has on their ability to live their life as they want to.

At the law firm of Console & Associates, P.C., we’ve helped many victims of sexual abuse get justice. If you or your child suffered from cheer sex abuse, we can help you start getting your life back on track. Just schedule a free consultation by completing our online form or give us a call at 866-778-5500.

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