The competitive cheerleading community was hit with another bombshell lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging that a Tennessee gym fostered an environment that allowed one of its celebrity coaches to sexually and emotionally abuse at least two teenage male athletes for years. Among them: a 15-year-old boy who told The Daily Beast that the coach sent him sexually explicit messages, photographs, and videos for months earlier this year when he was still 14. When the coach became aware he was being investigated by the sport's governing body, U.S. All-Star Federation (USASF), over complaints made by another athlete, the teenager said the messages turned sinister—and included threats that he wanted to "destroy" the initial whistleblower. "He made it feel like it was a normal thing and it was OK," the boy, identified as John Doe 1 in a lawsuit filed in Tennessee federal court, said about the abuse. "It wasn't fair. I feel like it was happening to multiple people." John Doe 1 is one of two teenage boys in the lawsuit demanding a jury trial. Among the defendants named in the suit are Varsity Spirit, its associated brands, and its former founder Jeff Webb; USASF; USA Cheer; Charlesbank Capital Partner; Bain Capital;… Read full this story
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