A prominent South Carolina cheerleading coach who died by suicide last month sexually abused male and female athletes and presided over a culture that allowed staff to commit sexual assault, even as a well-known private equity firm allegedly cashed in on the chaos, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.
The lawsuit filed in the District of South Carolina in Greenville Thursday alleges that 49-year-old Scott Foster sexually abused, exploited, and transported underaged athletes across state lines for years. The lawsuit goes on to detail horrific claims made by four Jane Does and two John Does—and is filed on behalf of 95 other Jane Does. While none of the alleged victims have been identified, the lawsuit says that they live all around the country and vary in age.
All the unnamed victims were “minors at the time they were sexually abused and assaulted, sexually exploited, transported across state lines for illegal sexual activity,” the lawsuit states.
The allegations detailed in the lawsuit include claims that Foster consumed drugs with his athletes in a “Rockstar house” apartment he paid for, coerced at least two underaged male athletes to have sex, and forcefully kissed at least one female cheerleader in the stairwell of a hotel.
At least one other coach is accused of rape.
The bombshell allegations are just the latest in a series of claims against Foster, who had established a nationally-recognized cheer organization that had licensing agreements with dozens of other gyms across the country before his death last month.
The Greenville County Coroner’s Office told The Daily Beast that Scott Foster died by suicide on Aug. 22 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was found around 12:30 p.m. in his car at the parking lot of Paris Mountain State Park, about 20 minutes away from Rockstar Cheer Greenville.
The lawsuit alleges that Foster recently learned that he was subject to an investigation by the Department of Homeland security related to allegations he sexually abused underaged athletes, including taking them across state lines to conduct the abuse. A Homeland Security Investigations spokesperson told The Daily Beast that he “could not confirm or deny” an investigation into Foster because the department does not comment on an ongoing investigation.
In addition to naming Foster and his ex-wife, Kathy Foster, the lawsuit also names Varsity Spirit and its associated brands, U.S. All Star Federation, Charlesbank Capital Partners, Bain Capital, Rockstar Cheer & Dance, and other unknown defendants.
In a Wednesday statement to The Daily Beast, Foster’s ex-wife stressed that she was “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,” Kathy Foster added. “At this time, I am focusing on providing needed support to my children, as they come to terms with the loss of their father.”
She could not immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit filed Thursday.
According to Rockstar Cheer, Greenville’s website, Foster opened the gym in 2007 after working as a cheer coach for another organization. The site said he first began cheerleading while attending the University of Louisville, where he joined the squad and majored in criminal justice.
Foster was quoted as saying that while he had hopes of becoming an FBI agent, he instead went all in on coaching, with the site portraying his work as an innocent and earnest passion.
“I was fully prepared to join the FBI when I completed my masters, but life threw its [sic] curve ball, and competitive cheerleading was introduced as a possible career,” he stated on his gym’s website. “I knew I could excel as an FBI agent; but I wanted a career doing something I would love each and every day.”
The lawsuit states that at a 2019 National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) tournament, Foster sexually assaulted John Doe 1 when he was 16 years old.
John Doe 2 moved to Greenville in 2014 and joined Rockstar Cheer. The lawsuit states that “almost immediately,” he was subjected to “inappropriate and vulgar comments” by male coaches. When he was 16 years old, John Doe 2 was allegedly pressured into sending nude photographs to two Rockstar coaches and to visit the “Rockstar house”—an apartment paid for by the Fosters to house athletes.
The lawsuit says the house was used by athletes and coaches to host parties, do drugs, and drink alcohol with minors. During one visit to the apartment, John Doe 2 was allegedly sexually assaulted by a coach—an incident the lawsuit says the Fosters knew about.
The lawsuit says that for Jane Doe 2, her encounters with Foster began in 2019, when she was about 16 years old. Foster “began almost immediately to touch her inappropriately” after she joined Rockstar Cheer in Greenville, the suit says. Soon after, the lawsuit alleges, Foster began to invite Jane Doe 2 to his house, where she ultimately spent the night twice—and each time there was plenty of “drugs and alcohol.”
The lawsuit alleges one of Jane Doe 3’s coaches “groped and fondled her, [and] digitally penetrated her” while on a trip for a competition. That same coach allegedly took Jane Doe 3 to his apartment, plied her with alcohol and marijuana, and eventually raped her.
In December 2019, Foster allegedly forcefully kissed Jane Doe 4 while at a cheer competition on the stairs in their hotel. According to the suit, the kiss was followed by Foster and Jane Doe 4—who was 18 at the time—seeing each other “several times a week,” interactions that allegedly included alcohol consumption and sexual intercourse. The encounters allegedly occurred across state lines during cheer competitions, mostly because “Jane Doe 4 felt she could not deny” Foster sex or she would be “punished professionally.”
As for the companies, the lawsuit alleged they knew or should have known about at least the potential for abuse of young cheerleaders—even as they profited from the system enabling it.
Rockstar Cheer & Dance Inc, Varsity Spirit, Charlesbank Capital Partners, and Bain Capital did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment about Thursday’s lawsuit. The National Center for Safety Initiatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the Thursday lawsuit.
In a Thursday letter to the “Varsity Spirit Family,” the organization’s president stressed that they “share in the sorrow with the All-Star Community during these difficult times.”
“These allegations are devastating to hear, and our hearts are broken right alongside yours. We understand that these events are causing concerns and raising questions,” president Bill Seely wrote in the letter. “Scott Foster is accused of abhorrent criminal, predatory conduct.”
The new lawsuit came just two days after another Rockstar Cheer athlete filed a lawsuit accusing the coach of sexually assaulting her almost a dozen times over a year, plying her with alcohol, and coercing her into sending nude photographs over Snapchat.
“Foster used this position to coerce children to concede to his sexual suggestions, using his authority and position of trust to exploit them physically, sexually, and emotionally,” the personal injury lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Greenville County, states.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. You can also text or dial 988.