Cobb County

Georgia cheerleading gym subject of federal lawsuit after teen claims he was raped by coach

MARIETTA — Stingray Allstars cheerleading gym in Marietta is the subject of a federal lawsuit after a teenager claims he was raped by a coach.

According to the lawsuit, he was 15-years-old at the time.

The gym issued a statement, saying:

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“After 22 years in our community, The Stingray Allstars is crushed to be named in our first lawsuit. We have a long history of taking rumors of maltreatment of any child directly to law enforcement, and Stingray Allstars filed this with Marietta PD immediately upon first learning these details in September of 2022. Robert Stone was an athlete and part of our coach in training program with other high schoolers in the area. In February 2021, The Stingray Allstars dismissed Robert Stone and a female athlete from their 18 and under team for a conduct issue unrelated to this. Both of these athletes were finishing high school upon dismissal from our program. We are so grateful that our victim and his mother feel safe and supported to currently be competing on one of our  Stingray teams. Our hearts and prayers are with the victim and his healing is paramount to the entire Stingray Allstars family,” said Casey Jones, President of The Stingray Allstars.

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Channel 2′s Michele Newell was in Cobb County, where police say they began investigating when the victim came forward in September of 2022.

Stone was charged with aggravated sodomy in October of 2022. He was dismissed from the gym in 2021 on an unrelated matter.

According to the lawsuit that was recently filed, the Stingray organization allegedly knew of the abuse, but didn’t do anything about it.

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The lawsuit says the sexual assault became public knowledge at the gym, but none of the employees or adults reported it to police.

To cope with the assault, the lawsuit says John Doe began abusing alcohol. One of the coaches reportedly pulled him to the side and told him to stop drinking because of his “bad reputation” because of “you know what happened with you know who.”

The lawsuit goes on to allege that the gym and the U.S. All Star Federation did not do enough to protect their underage athletes, including John Doe.

Stingray’s says it sent several letters to parents about the alleged incident in September and told parents what actions were taken to address it, including contacting police.

“Everybody got an email about what was going on and they were very transparent about it,” said Angela Curtis, whose child attends the gym.

Angela Curtis says her child has been involved with the gym for 10 years and she said she has never had a problem.

“I’m pretty shocked because we’ve been there at the gym for 10 years and I’ve always experienced nothing like this before. If we didn’t feel she was safe there, we wouldn’t be there but I 100% feel she’s safe. She’s definitely staying at the gym. There would be no reason why I would have her leave even if something like that did supposedly happen. I have full confidence that Casey and Stingrays would take care of it because they do care about their athletes,” Curtis said.

The Stingrays said their hearts and prayers are with the victim and his healing is important to the entire organization. They also said he is currently a member of the team.