Corsicana, Texas's Navarro College, which hosts one of the most prestiguous cheerleading programs in the country, has come under fire after one of its cheerleaders filed suit for its mishandling of a sexual assault he says he experienced. The accuser claims that Andre McGee, one of the cheer coaches, sexually assaulted him and hit other male cheerleaders, reports the CBS news affiliate in Dallas.
"Living in fear is...probably the hardest part," the cheerleader told the station. "Just the images, the memories, you can never shake them."
The alleged victim claims that McGee would "slap and hit male cheerleaders" and force them "drop their pants at his command." He also claims that the assistant coach had hundred of nude photographs of the cheerleaders who he made "drink and/or consume drugs" which he referred to as "big girl games."
The cheerleader is suing for events he alleges happened in October of 2015, while he was a freshman. Acording to the suit, McGee forced him to take Xanax and afterwards "awoke to McGee sodomizing him."
"Everybody said, 'Oh you're one of the new cheerleaders. Andre takes great care of you boys,'" the cheerleader's mother claimed her son was told. "All campus police, the man who was in charge of the dorms, they all knew Andre."
Intent on not hurting his team's chances at winning a championship, the accuser did not call the police until three months after the alleged assault. According to the police report, a second cheerleader made similar claims to authorities and his attorneys believe more victims will come forward. Lacey Turley Most told the news station, "We've heard from other cheerleaders that there were other victims."
The cheerleader says he reported the assault to Navarro College officials and head coach Monica Aldama, in addition to the police, at which point he learned McGee didn't work for the the school. According to a Navarro College spokesperson, "McGee was allowed to volunteer with the Navarro Cheer program," but was not an assistant coach as many of the cheerleaders thought. They also said that upon finding out of the allegations, "the college notified him that he could no longer volunteer."
The alleged victim and his mother say that there was no indication that McGee was not hired staff. "The boys had to answer to him 24/7," the cheerleader's mother asserted, "He had to have their schedule, so he knew exactly what classes they were in, when."
McGee was indicted by Navarro County in 2017, but the case has been stalled for 10 months. District Attorney Lowell Thompson told CBS that his office was watiting for McGee to be released from a local jail on another charge. Freestone County jail, however, says that there was no other charge and that he had never been behind bars.
The station found McGee working as a substitute teacher at a public school district and relayed the information to the police who arrested him. McGee finally took the stand in December and denied the allegations.
While the criminal case continues, the cheerleader and his mother are pursuing a civil lawsuit against both McGee and Navarro College. CBS's investigative team reached out to over 30 current and former Navarro cheerleaders. Seven support McGee, while two backed up the cheerleader's claims of hazing and sexual misconduct.
"It's taken way too long," the cheerleader's mother said, adding her son "feels like he's less important because he's a boy."