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Probe Into Coastal Carolina Cheerleader Scandal Ends

May 22, 2017
 
 

Despite confirmation that some Coastal Carolina University cheerleaders worked for an escort service, the institution will take no action against the team.

The university’s investigation into the cheerleaders centered on allegations of prostitution, drug use and underage drinking.

In March, the university received an anonymous letter, signed by a “concerned parent” with accusations that members of the team were working at a strip club and being paid for sex. The letter writer also indicated that the team members used fake identification to buy underage members of the team alcohol and that some of them smoked marijuana.

After the university began investigating, the entire cheerleading team was suspended later that month.

The university later identified the man who wrote the letter, but he declined to be interviewed, essentially halting the investigation, Investigator Michelyn Pylilo with Coastal Carolina’s Department of Public Safety wrote in a report released to Inside Higher Ed Friday.

Interviews with cheerleaders revealed that some had set up an escort service through Seeking Arrangement, a website that facilitates relationships between “sugar daddies and mommies,” who are wealthier and typically older, and “sugar babies,” younger men and women who often receive money and gifts in exchange for their company.

Cheerleaders were paid between $100 and $1,500 and were provided clothes, shoes and designer handbags, Pylilo wrote.

University spokesman William Plate disregarded emailed questions about the cheerleaders’ roles as escorts and the legality of their activities.

Instead, he forwarded an emailed statement from Coastal Carolina President David A. DeCenzo. “The university has thoroughly investigated this matter, taking into consideration the mission of the institution and our No. 1 priority and obligation to protect the safety and well-being of our students. As a public institution with a code of ethical conduct and as a public agency entrusted with public funds, we have a duty to investigate serious allegations. We had no choice,” the statement reads.

Plate wrote in an email that “there is no further information” and that Coastal Carolina would not give interviews on the scandal.

Tryouts for the team are scheduled for late July, Plate wrote. The university also will fill the head coach position that has been vacant since the previous coach left for the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2016.

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