High-profile cases of young athletes who have been sexually abused have shown that crimes are not always vile acts of one person. Those who turned a blind eye are also responsible.
That is why the South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement and the state Attorney General’s Office must launch an investigation into Rockstar Cheer of Greer despite the death by suicide of its founder and accused of sexual abuse, Scott Foster. .
The states Lyn Riddle reported on an upcoming lawsuit by the Strom Law Firm alleging that Foster had multiple victims and that others at Rockstar Cheer and other organizations overlooked or permitted the sexual abuse. The Department of Homeland Security was investigating Foster before she killed herself, South Carolina media reported.
Representatives from SLED and the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said their agencies were not part of an investigation into Foster or Rockstar, Riddle reported.
Those law enforcement agencies should be part of an investigation starting today.
South Carolina needs its own investigation, separate from the federal agency and its intent, to assure the public that a thorough investigation has been conducted, that any facilitators must be held accountable in state court, and that the state’s own law enforcement agencies have no nothing to hide.
South Carolina agents need look no further than the Jerry Sandusky case. Sandusky, who had a decades-long career as an assistant football coach at Penn State, was convicted in 2011 of 45 counts of sexual abuse of children that he learned about through a foundation he created. An investigation ordered by the Penn State board found that powerful university leaders covered up Sanduksy’s abuse to avoid bad publicity.
Did anyone know about the allegations of abuse by Foster and ignore them? Agents in South Carolina need to find out.
A case that should hit closer to home for South Carolina officers is that of Larry Nassar, a former physician for the US Olympic gymnastics team and Michigan State University. In 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually abusing minors and possessing child pornography. Michigan State University was fined $4.5 million for failing to “properly disclose incidents, notify campus security authorities, or issue timely warnings about what was happening.” NPR reports.
Dozens of current and former athletes, including prominent American gymnasts, are suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation for failing to act on abuse allegations against Nassar in 2015.
South Carolina officers must ensure that no law enforcement agency ignores or takes too lightly any allegations of abuse or other potential crimes by Foster.
The investigation by South Carolina agents should be made public with regular updates to the media so nothing is seen as a cover-up.
An in-depth investigation by South Carolina agents may not reveal any wrongdoing by others surrounding Foster. But now a full investigation into that is needed, not another blind eye.