Cheerleader Awaits Hearing in Sex Harassment Case

Jan 5, 2007

The attorney representing a former Marshall University cheerleader, who has alleged that she was submitted to a “pervasive environment of sexual harassment” while on the squad, is awaiting a picotal hearing in the case.
Since filing the case on June 13, 2006 in Kanawha Circuit Court of West Virginia, the case remains in discovery until a Jan. 25, 2006 hearing, at which the court may determine a trial date or alter where the case is to be heard. Attorney Mary Downey told Sports Litigation Alert that she remained “confident” that she can prove her client’s case when it goes to trial.
The plaintiff is suing the squad’s coach, the university’s Board of Governors and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission over sexual harassment she says she had to endure while a cheerleader. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
The plaintiff, who filed the case under her initials K.C. to protect her privacy, received a cheerleading scholarship to Marshall in August 2005.
After arriving at Marshall, however, her dream of being a collegiate cheerleader was anything but what she expected. As stated in her complaint she said, “Male members of the cheerleading squad routinely made offensive actions toward female squad members, including exposing their genitalia, rubbing their scrotum on a female team member’s face as she stretched on the floor, groping female members’ breasts, shouting ‘Throw the bitches up’ and grabbing their genitalia area.”
After telling the head male cheerleader she could not continue with the situation, she says she was kicked off the squad and lost her scholarship.
The plaintiff partially blames the Marshall cheerleading coach for not stopping the harassment and even allowing the male squad members to call cheers by sexually explicit names. She also says the couch encouraged the females to throw up to lose weight. When she refused, she says she was put on probation for not being personable.


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