North Carolina cheerleaders banned from competitions following allegations of sexual abuse; online petition started

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Some parents in Wake County are upset that their children won’t be able to compete in certain cheerleading competitions, but officials said it’s because of allegations of sexual abuse.

A lawsuit claiming sexual abuse at several cheerleading gyms across the country is now forcing some in Wake County to sit some competitions out.

A federal lawsuit was filed by the Strom Law Firm last week, representing a boy who said he was abused by coaches at Cheer Extreme in Raleigh. Some of those coaches were associated with Varsity Spirit, a national cheerleading organization.

It is one of several lawsuits claiming abuse by coaches associated with the group.

Varsity Spirit released a statement saying the reports of abuse are “incredibly disturbing.”

Cheer Extreme in Raleigh also released a statement.

We are surprised and extremely disheartened that Cheer Extreme Raleigh was named in a lawsuit by an anonymous plaintiff that was filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Cheer Extreme Raleigh strongly disputes the allegations made in the lawsuit against out company.

Coaches at Cheer Extreme Raleigh are subject to background checks and must complete a series of required trainings. We conduct open practices and welcome parent attendance. Additionally, Cheer Extreme Raleigh has reporting mechanisms, including a hotline, where parents or athletes can raise concerns, which are them promptly investigated.

We hold survivors of any type of abuse in our prayers as they navigate their healing. Safety for our athletes has been and always will be our top concern. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure Cheer Extreme facilities are amongst the most compliant youth-serving organizations in the country.

Cheer Extreme Raleigh

Since the lawsuit, the Wake County Public Schools System has banned athletes from participating in competitions under Varsity Spirit.

An online petition by an anonymous person has since gathered more than 300 signatures, urging the school to let the athletes compete.

“This is unfair and unjust as we have followed all of the rules set and have worked too hard all season to just not go,” the petition says in part.

CBS 17 did reach out to WCPSS, but has not heard back.