Lawyer says CCU cheerleaders are victims of 'baseless claims from an anonymous source'

Lawyer says CCU cheerleaders are victims of 'baseless claims from an anonymous source'

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A lawyer representing several members of the Coastal Carolina University cheerleading team has released a statement calling accusations of prostitution and other misconduct "baseless claims from an anonymous source," and claiming that they were not permitted due process in their own defense.

The statement released Thursday from Amy S. Lawrence at the Lovely Law Firm reads in full:

Last week, Coastal Carolina University took unprecedented measures against the entire cheerleading team, based solely on unsubstantiated accusations. I am shocked and saddened to see these girls become victims of these baseless claims from an anonymous source.

Last Thursday, several CCU cheerleaders who spoke on the condition of anonymity said an investigator with the CCU Department of Public Safety came to their practice last Wednesday night. The cheerleaders said the investigator explained to the team an anonymous letter was mailed to school president David DeCenzo on March 7 alleging that team members were involved in "a long list of things," including prostitution, purchasing alcohol for underage team members, and paying others to complete their homework assignments.

According to the cheerleaders, the team was met by police outside the HTC Center after practice, who called the names of individual team members, and took them to CCU's police station for questioning. During the questioning police searched through their cell phones, the cheerleaders said. They added that officers then told them they could leave around 11 p.m., after telling them they did nothing wrong.

Last Friday, a Twitter account purporting to represent the team posted a statement that read:

At this point in time, we no longer wish to be contacted about the current situation. The false accusations have led to harassment on campus as well as through social media, and are beginning to negatively impact our daily lives as well as our studies. As a team we ask the community to support us through these tough times as we hope the situation will be cleared up shortly."

WMBF News has reached out to Athletic Director Matt Hogue, Martha Hunn, Associate Vice President of Communications, and the CCU Department of Public Safety for more information and to corroborate the cheerleader's claims. No comment has been provided in the week since the requests for comment were made.

Horry County Police said they are not involved in the investigation at this time.

WMBF News has requested communications pertaining to the cheerleading team, as well as the letter allegedly sent to CCU President DeCenzo, through a Freedom of Information Act request. The school's FOIA office denied the request, stating the request concerns a pending investigation.

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