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Lawsuit: Top cheer company facilitated sexual abuse at gyms in NC, other states; Varsity Spirit vehemently denies accusations

Varsity Sports suit.jpeg
(AP Photo/Adrian Sainz, File)
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FILE - Attorney Alexandra Benevento, center, speaks with reporters during a news conference announcing a cheerleader abuse lawsuit filed in Tennessee on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. The American cheerleading company behind the sport’s top uniforms, camps and competitions is evaluating a possible defamation case against lawyers who have named the enterprise in a series of federal lawsuits alleging sexual abuse at gyms across the Southeast. In a letter sent Tuesday, Nov. 1, defamation attorney Thomas Clare accused civil rights attorney Bakari Sellers and lawyers with the Strom Law Firm of making false and defamatory statements about Varsity Spirit’s relationship to the alleged sexual abuse of cheerleaders by coaches at gyms in South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina.

The cheerleading company that makes the sport's top uniforms, camps and competitions is vehemently denying accusations it helped facilitate alleged sexual abuse at gyms across the southeastern U.S. that have been outlined in a series of federal lawsuits.

Varsity Spirit has been named by civil rights attorney Bakari Sellers and lawyers with the Strom Law Firm in complaints alleging the sexual abuse of cheerleaders by coaches at individual gyms in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Attorneys have said leaders at Varsity Spirit failed to provide a safe environment for athletes.

Varsity Spirit denied the accusations and has hired a defamation lawyer.

Kelly Batchelor hails from the small crossroads community of Cabin in Duplin County in eastern North Carolina. Since 1989 Kelly has been actively employed in radio.