Cheerleader Told To Pay School She Sued After Being Kicked Off Squad For Refusing To Cheer Guy Who Assaulted Her

from the free-speech? dept

I’d been aware of an important (but unfortunate) free speech lawsuit involving a cheerleader who refused to cheer for a fellow student who had sexually assaulted her. The girl claimed that the boy had raped her when she was 16. The boy was arrested, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault, and was given various punishments (community service, a fine, probation and an anger management class), but was also allowed back on the basketball team. The girl remained on the cheerleading squad, but then refused to cheer for the boy. This being Texas, where they take high school sports significantly more seriously than much of the rest of the world, the superintendent of the school ordered her to leave the gym, and when she explained her reasons, she was expelled from the cheerleading squad. She then sued the school, claiming it was a violation of her First Amendment rights. The lower courts ruled against her, saying that being a cheerleader means accepting that you’re a “mouthpiece” for the school, and thus are required to cheer for whomever the school says you should cheer for. Not only that, but adding insult to injury, the courts said that the lawsuit itself was frivolous and the girl had to pay the school $45,000. The reason the case is getting attention now is that the Supreme Court has declined to hear her appeal, meaning that her case is done, and she has to pay up.

We cover so many First Amendment cases around here, and this one deserves extra attention, because it seems troubling on a variety of levels. The idea that a student gives up their First Amendment rights by joining a particular activity seems like a very worrisome interpretation of the First Amendment. While it may be true that there are specific requirements to being a cheerleader, it seems that there are certainly ways that a school can handle this that doesn’t result in punitive response for her (quite reasonable) unwillingness to cheer for this guy. But the frivolous claim is what really surprises me. As we’ve seen in various ridiculous cases we cover, it’s really difficult to get a case declared frivolous and get legal fees. Even on lots of the copyright troll cases, winning legal fees is nearly impossible. It seems pretty crazy that this girl now has to pay up for her lawsuit here.

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Comments on “Cheerleader Told To Pay School She Sued After Being Kicked Off Squad For Refusing To Cheer Guy Who Assaulted Her”

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:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Wacked Mess

Yeah seriously.

I mean, she knew the guy was on the team, why didn’t she quit being a cheerleader if it was such a big deal? Or, she could’ve moved to another school. Or, she could acknowledge that he “did his time” legally and let it go.

Plus, being part of a voluntary organized activity–namely cheerleading–knowing full well the cheerleaders where there to cheer for the basketball (and other?) teams. If she was unwilling to do the stuff a cheerleader is there to do, she just shouldn’t be a cheerleader. Like, duh.

Just goes to show ya–girls will go to some incredible lengths to be petty and vindictive.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Wacked Mess

Not at all.

If I voluntarily join a club to “dress a certain way, move a certain way, say certain things” and then at clutch time–after having taken up lots of the clubs time being trained and outfitted–I decide I’m not going to do what I agreed to do and club kicks me out, do I now have grounds to sue due to my free speech having been infringed?

Seriously, the “free speech” thing in this particular instance is just a stupid money grab.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Wacked Mess

“If she couldn’t stand him, why didn’t she change schools or quit the cheer squad?”

If he pleaded guilty to assault, why wasn’t he made to change schools or quit the football squad?

“say again, I was a pre-planned petty vindictive move on her part; followed by a money-grab via her parents attorney.”

In the same post as a jibe about innocent until proven guilty?

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Wacked Mess

Seeing as this is about a minor, could it be that just supposedly (not sure if the records for minors are public in the USA.. I hope not) he pled to a lesser charge of Assault, since rape by definition is an act of Assault (or battery in the US case)

My question in regards to this is if it was between two students from the same school did the assault occur was the school was loco parentis at the time and if so why was the boy not expelled?

Was the victim offered councelling? Was she informed of the option to take out a restraining order on the perpetrator [?Texan law ability?] ? Was she informed that there was a possibility that she could interact with the boy during the course of her volunteer duties as a cheerleader?

To me there are a huge amount of vicarious liabilities that the school might of created above and beyond the First Ammendment problem which I myself think was a specious argument. It looks like the solicitors had multiple avenues to punish the school, though maybe now they will.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Wacked Mess

ALLEGEDLY? Did you totally miss the part where it says

The boy was arrested, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault, and was given various punishments (community service, a fine, probation and an anger management class)

That doesn’t sound like an alleged assault. That sounds like a conviction.

Ccomp5950 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Wacked Mess

That occured after the “Failure to cheer incident”

It took 3 grand juries to indict him.

See page 14 heading QQQ towards the bottom and continue reading until page 16 where the incident occurs. IN QQQ the grand jury sided with the boys.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Wacked Mess

I’m sorry, what is your point?

The boy was convicted. That means we don’t have to say “allegedly” any more. Innocent until proven guilty, and he was proven guilty. Lobo Santo just wants to blame the victim for not going to a different school, as if she was somehow responsible for what happened to her.

Ccomp5950 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Wacked Mess

at the time of the incident, he was innocent, a grand jury found him not even indictable. As far as the school is concerned if they removed him from the team, they are damned, if they removed her from the team they are damned.

So they did what most schools did, if it’s not a problem don’t make it a problem, and the person that makes it a problem is handled. She was removed from the team.

Later on after a 3rd grand jury found him indictable he plead guilty to misdemeanor assault, both sides found this plea deal to be fine.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Wacked Mess

Christopher is right. The guy was not found guilty in a court of law of rape. He was convicted on a charge fo assault. So, if you say that he is a rapist, you can be sued for libel/slander.

It doesn’t matter if he actually did rape the girl; legally, he is innocent of rape until proven otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Wacked Mess

If you don’t know s*** about the law, cease commenting on it. A plea bargain establishes nothing legally except that a prosecutor decided to drop a greater charge in return for a plea on a lesser charge. IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH THAT THE PERPETRATOR IS “NOT GUILTY” OF THE GREATER CHARGE. It merely establishes that the state has waived its right to prosecute on that charge in return for a plea.

If Mr. rapist decides to sue for libel, the court must establish that the statment is not true, or the standard liable defense of “truth” will appply. A plea bargain to assualt has no legal effect in that debate.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Wacked Mess

“That doesn’t sound like an alleged assault. That sounds like a conviction.”

To be fair, Lobo was referring to the rape accusation. Still, one would hope that if refusing to cheer would get a cheerleader kicked off then assaulting a cheerleader would get a player kicked off. I guess what happens on the field is more important to some people.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Wacked Mess

Yeah, it’s amazing how people will go “oh, but it was assault not rape, so what’s the big deal?”

I guess this is the “boys will be boys” mentality. Absolutely sickening. If I were that girl’s father, that boy would have no future in sports, courtesy of a baseball bat.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re:8

Do you know the details of what actually happened vs. what could actually be proven vs. what the terms of the plea bargain stated?

Of course not.

The truth can not be reduced down to a series of check boxes on a form.

The actual charge he plead guilty to is not necessarily related to what actually happened.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Of course.

He might have done nothing wrong at all, or he might have done everything she said he did. We don’t know.

But the poster I was responding to acted like the charge he pleaded to should be treated as seriously as rape.

The charge he pleaded to could be satisfied by poking his finger in her chest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Rape is an assault charge. He could have just pleaded down. I highly doubt she’d accuse him of rape if he backhanded her, which by all accounts should have gotten him kicked off the team as well and i’m honestly slightly disgusted that you equate a simple poke with backhanding a girl. It leads me to believe you’re possibly sexist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

“Rape is an assault charge.”


Of course he pleaded down. That’s irrelevant to what we’re discussing.

What you, having no knowledge of the actual facts, “highly doubt” is not terribly convincing.

We don’t know what happened. We only know what he pleaded to. What he pleaded to could be simply poking.

That you make all sorts of assumption of what the guy probably did in a he-said/she-said case leads me to believe that you are likely sexist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Wacked Mess

perhaps because moving to another school isn’t as simple as just saying “I’m going to a different school”. There are districts, and such…it might mean her parents have to MOVE residences. Yeah, thats not a big freaking deal is it?

Yes, she could quit the cheer squad, but why should she be the one who has to pay for HIS crimes? he plead guilty … so he should be the one who has to quit the basketball team.

As someone else said, typical American society… hold the sports stars in higher regard that everyone else! I say once you plead guilty to something like this, you should be banned from school extra-curricular activities.

But I’m sure you’d rather see the guy coaching the girls basketball team while the girl go to Home Economics

Miff (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Wacked Mess

He had already been sentenced by the court. If she did not think his penalty was enough, she would have made other motions against him, such as convincing a majority of the cheerleading team to boycott the game or pushing for a harsher sentencing for the boy in court.

It wasn’t as if part of the sentence was a restraining order against the boy that prevented one of them from attending the game. She did not fufill her duties and was dismissed by the club.

Now, it might have been different if, as I said earlier, she had convinced a majority of the other cheerleaders to take a stand with her and boycott his team, but it was just her.

Finally, if she had won the case, it would have opened up serious legal loopholes in employment and contract law. Not doing any of the work you were hired to do? You can’t be fired because not working is protected expression.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Wacked Mess

“If she did not think his penalty was enough, she would have made other motions against him, such as convincing a majority of the cheerleading team to boycott the game or pushing for a harsher sentencing for the boy in court.”

So, you have a problem with her choosing not to cheer for him but suggest that she gets everyone else not to cheer for anyone? That makes no sense.

“It wasn’t as if part of the sentence was a restraining order against the boy that prevented one of them from attending the game. She did not fufill her duties and was dismissed by the club.”

I wasn’t aware that cheerleaders signed contracts or got paid. Regardless, you’re again blaming her for not cheering despite previously suggesting that she get the whole team to boycott the game.

“Now, it might have been different if, as I said earlier, she had convinced a majority of the other cheerleaders to take a stand with her and boycott his team, but it was just her.”

Why might it have been different? You left that part out.

“Finally, if she had won the case, it would have opened up serious legal loopholes in employment and contract law.”

Again, do cheerleaders seriously sign employment contracts? I thought it was a school activity (and a notoriously ill regulated one at that).

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Wacked Mess

I think you’re putting too much emphasis on that. This particular trial wasn’t about the rape. There was a separate one for that, and the boy served his time, paid his dues, however you want to call it. You can argue (and I do) that his punishment wasn’t enough, but that isn’t part of this case.

She voluntarily joined a group whose purpose it is to cheer for the basketball team and its players. She didn’t want to do that, so she was kicked off. And I think rightfully so. If you don’t want to do what is asked of you by a group then they shouldn’t be required to keep you in that group. Especially in this case because she knew upfront what she was going to be asked to do. Now maybe she wanted to stay on the cheer team and have this incident to remind everyone what the boy did. Fine. If that was her purpose, she made her point, and I don’t begrudge her of that. But there is no reason for the school to have to keep her on the cheer team if they don’t want her to be, and not doing what the cheer team is there to do seems like a good reason to kick her off.

As for the first amendment rights, they weren’t abridged. She didn’t want to cheer for the guy, she didn’t cheer for the guy. The government can’t inhibit your free speech, that doesn’t mean they have to provide a forum for your speech. A forum was provided for a certain type of “speech” (the cheer squad). She didn’t want to speak with the cheer squad, so she wasn’t allowed to stay in that forum. I could see this as problematic if the forum was the school grounds or something else broader, but we’re talking about a club/group with limited membership. Are you going to argue that free speech is abridged when people don’t make the cuts?

That all being said, the school could have been more sensitive to her feelings. They obviously thought she deserved to be on the cheer team more than others. They could have allowed her to not cheer at the basketball games while still letting her be on the squad.

Also, I think the fact that the suit is considered a frivolous one is also ridiculous. If it’s this easy to get a suit declared as frivolous, then I want to start seeing a lot of frivolous lawsuit fines being doled out in East Texas.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Wacked Mess

Right, now she can pay her dues too.

First she gets raped. Then she watches the guy get it plea bargained down to assault. Then she decides not to cheer for him. Then she gets her sport taken from her. Then she tries to stand up and she gets slapped with a 45k fine.

No amount of legal explanation makes this okay. This girl is a victim, and society has failed her in almost every way.

Unless she’s a liar, but I bet that very few liars go back to court the second time.

Any Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Wacked Mess

‘She’s a victim’ does not make what she did right, either. The school is not at fault, the boy is. Sorry, but I agree that she shouldn’t have stayed if she knew the boy was on the team she was going to be cheered for. Staying and not cheering was a voluntary action on her part. She was asked to leave before she was kicked from the team. I cheer her for standing up for her convictions, but you have to be willing to take the flak for that, too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Wacked Mess

She should have quit her hobby because she was a victim? That doesn’t make any sense. Maybe she loves cheerleading. Maybe she wants to do it professionally. Why does she have to quit because someone assaulted/raped her? The school should have just allowed her to not cheer for the one boy. Allow her to sit out when he’s doing something independently. She cheered the whole game, just not when he went for some free throws. The school could have been understanding but gave her this decision “Possibly change where you want to go in life OR cheer for someone who allegedly raped you”

A school should not do that. The school is obviously biased on sports. I don’t understand why everyone is just assuming she wanted to be on the cheerleader squad to just have fun. She may have wanted to make that her life choice at that time.

If you don’t see a problem with this scenario, I see a problem with you.

Greg G (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Wacked Mess

He may indeed have raped her, but the charge he plead guilty to was not rape, but *misdemeanor* assault.

Hardly the same thing, don’t ya think?

So, what Lobo said, stands.

If she didn’t want to cheer knowing that the guy in question was still playing for the team, she could quit, or at least ask the cheerleading coach to let her sit out and then go join up with the squad to cheer at activities/events in which that guy is not a participant.

I think she (or her parents) thought she (they) could get a quick payday by suing the school.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Wacked Mess

Co-worker is such a bad analogy. You are not required to interact with your co-worker the way they were requiring that cheerleader to interact with her assailant.

A better analogy – your boss assaulted you, plead guilty, and was then allowed back to work. The CEO then told you that you cannot transfer out of your department and must continue taking orders from the man who assaulted you.

AnonymousHero says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Wacked Mess

Actually it’d be more along the lines of a customer assaulted you and you wouldnt work with the customer anymore. If it was employee on employee violence it usually results in the termination of one employee.

Alternatively it could be they were employed at the same place then the guy was fired and works at a different place where he has to make orders from the original company thus forced into contact with the other person and them refusing to do their job could very well get them fired as well for failing to do their job.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Wacked Mess

“He may indeed have raped her, but the charge he plead guilty to was not rape, but *misdemeanor* assault.”

So, he gets to stay on the team despite admitting to assaulting a cheerleader, yet the cheerleader is kicked out for refusing to cheer him? I’m astounded that you cannot see how inconsistent that is. He was found guilty of a crime yet stays on the team, yet her objection to that isn’t even protected by her first amendment rights and gets her kicked off despite no crime being committed. I guess he’d have to assault someone while playing to get kicked off the team.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Wacked Mess

How is it inconsistent?

He committed a bad act that has nothing to do with playing basketball.

She refused to do the single thing the cheerleading squad is supposed to do.

I don’t think it would have been wrong for the school to punish the player by suspending him or ejecting him, but it’s hardly an analogous situation.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Wacked Mess

“How is it inconsistent?”

Because he physically harmed someone on the cheerleader team whereas she merely refused to cheer for someone on the basketball team. Technically by your logic he could have assaulted her on the pitch and stayed in the team as long as it didn’t interfere with the game, whereas she could have worn the wrong colour socks in protest and been kicked out.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Wacked Mess

You keep fighting this but ignore that at the time of the no-cheer-incident, the boy was found by a grand jury to not even be indictable. As far as the law (and the school) were concerned, he was innocent. At that time, the school saw that she refused to cheer for a boy that she accused of rape. She didn’t just refuse to cheer (as simply a person in the audience), she refused to do the one thing a cheerleader is supposed to do.

Sure the school could have handled the situation better. They could have been more sensitive to her feelings. But they had every right to kick her off the cheer squad for not doing what a cheerleader is supposed to do, while at that time they had no reason to kick him off the team.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Wacked Mess

He committed a bad act that has nothing to do with playing basketball.

Grades have nothing to do with playing basketball, either, and yet athletes are required to keep their grades up or be kicked off the team.

One would think that having a boy who assaults cheerleaders on the basketball team would set a bad example of what is considered acceptable behavior. Unless they consider it acceptable to assault cheerleaders, in which case it makes perfect sense. That also explains why it took three grand juries before they finally said “alright, yeah, you shouldn’t beat up on a woman…”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Wacked Mess

Hey, I agree. It’s a close call I think as to whether you let the guy play on the team. Without knowing more of the facts, misdemeanor assault isn’t necessarily an automatic kick-off in my book.

My point is that the treatment is not inconsistent, because the actions are not analogous.

Ccomp5950 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Wacked Mess

You don’t get it.

I believe (I’ve read a bit on this case in the last 3 days) that he wasn’t even indicted until he graduated school or shortly before.

You don’t kick people off teams permanently for accusations. It flies in the face of “innocent until proven guilty”.

You also can’t expect someone to be treated as a criminal before they are convicted, especially when 2 grand juries have said “not enough evidence”.

Even having some future plea bargain occur you can’t hold the school accountable for not kicking him off the team 2 years prior.

Your baseball bat statement before makes me curious if you can even have a rational discussion about this subject at all.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Wacked Mess

You’re right, you don’t kick people off teams “permanently” over accusations.

You suspend them until things get straightened out.

Questioning my rationality because I would destroy the future of the boy who raped my daughter makes me curious if you have ever loved anyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Wacked Mess

“You suspend them until things get straightened out.”

Whoah. So much for “innocent until proven guilty.”

Refusing to acknowledge the mere possibility that no rape occurred (although nobody was ever convicted of rape) doesn’t make you look any more rational.

Ccomp5950 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Wacked Mess

He was suspended, then a grand jury found the claims to flimsy to bring to court. He was then allowed back into class room from ISS (in school suspension, it’s where you don’t mingle with the rest of the student body).

Again, you and a lot of other commenters are completely disregarding the entire timeline of this case.

Ccomp5950 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Wacked Mess

False Rape accusations happen.

Your 16 daughter is drunk and has sex with a boy, doesn’t tell you about it and 2 months later finds herself pregnant. Ashamed to admit to you and her friends she had sex with a certain boy due to his race and with the community silently finding it wrong for a white woman to have sex with a black man she comes to you to tell you about her pregnancy.

You become upset.

Your daughter sensing how upset you are thinks about the repercussions of her actions and doubts the relationship with you will ever be the same, so she attempts to maintain her innocence and claim “well it wasn’t consensual.”

You then take your baseball bat and break every bone in young man’s body based on just what your daughter has told you.

The only criminal in this situation is you, and you should be locked up for the protection of the general public. Tragic, yes, but a lot of tragic stories are written about those that loved. The moral of the story is don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by your emotions.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Wacked Mess

The girl in question said that he raped her. With all due respect, if a girl thinks that a guy has ‘treated her badly’ she WILL lie about that.

I know that from goddamned hard experience. I was freaking lucky that the brother of the girl in question was watching/spying on us and said “WHOA! He didn’t touch my sister in any way sexually!”

To say that to plead guilty to ASSAULT says that he RAPED the girl is stretching logic quite a bit, as you pointed out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Wacked Mess

I don’t think anyone is missing the point, but if she were to win the lawsuit, it could create a very bad precedent for far more frivolous reasons.

I completely agree, she should not been required to pay any of the legal fees. But what if an actor refuses to say a certain line required of them or if an actor insists on saying something in a movie that the movie makers don’t want included. Should the actor then be able to use the law get his way and maintain his acting position?

OK, so it’s just one line that the actor refuses to say for reason X. The contract is not as important as free speech. But then what about if the actor wants to substantially limit what he says in the movie? What if he decides to eventually say almost nothing and he keeps on coming up with small reasons and claims “free speech, free speech”.

It’s a very slippery slope. What constitutes a valid reason to refuse to do something that you knew would be required of you ahead of time and then to use the law to still maintain your position.

I agree, she did nothing wrong by refusing to cheer him on. That’s her right. But she knew ahead of time what her role as a cheerleader was. For her to then sue and win would be ridiculous. The school has a say in who they select as a cheerleader, they are not obligated to select her, and, as part of their ‘free speech’ they can choose to select someone else. I completely agree, she should not have had to pay those damages, but I also think we should be careful about what kind of precedent it might create if she were allowed to win the case.

Drak says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Wacked Mess

Assaulted her…misdemeanor assault at that. This could mean one of many things. Raped is her story which obviously didn’t have enough evidence to support its claim. I hate to say it but we don’t know if she really was raped or not. If she was then this is a tragic failure. If she wasn’t raped but was accosted in some other less malicious way then this chain of events seems just about on track. Fact is we don’t know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Wacked Mess

Wah, wah, she said the “rape” word so it’s all okay!

Just shut up.

It doesn’t matter what she ACCUSED him of doing: in theory, our legal system (and any SANE legal system) is predicated on the assumption of “innocent until proven guilty.” What DOES matter is what he actually did, or at least what the court found him guilty of doing.

Further more, he also served time for whatever it was he supposedly did; are you claiming that people should simply be punished forever?

If so, nobody should ever speak (or listen) to you again for the utter rampant stupidity you just exhibited — in addition to flagellating you publicly for your blisteringly unintelligent gibberish.

(For the blindingly unobservant, the following is illustrative sarcasm):

On another note, you raped my dog! You beast! You monster!

Hey, everyone! Qritiqal raped my dog — screw due process; I said so, so it’s true!

I want (her? him? it?) banned 4evar from teh Techdirt soez I’m not offended anymores!

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Wacked Mess

Apparently, you don’t realize that the boy was convicted of ASSAULT. It is slander to keep on saying that she was raped when the grand jury said twice that “Hey, not enough evidence here!”

Personally, I thought that when a grand jury refuses to indict that it is the same as being found innocent in a court of law, and they CANNOT bring it in front of a grand jury again.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Wacked Mess

its only slander is he is proven innocent. The rapist would have to prove he isnt a rapist to sue me for calling his raping ass a rapist.

Since he plead out of the case I doubt he is innocent. Sounds like another story of star athlete getting away with being a horrible human being because texas bleeds highschool football. (I know the was on the basketball team for this but if you google his name, Rakheem Jamal Bolton, news stories keep talking about him getting football scholarships for college)

So this raping rapist can go rape himself for all im concerned.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Wacked Mess

If i didnt rape someone, and there was evidence I didn’t rape anyone and there were witnesses that i didn’t rape anyone I woulnd’t plead guilty to assault.

If the evidence was so flimsy that 2 grand juries refused to have the case heard why would he be worried if he was innocent?

According to the complaint there were lots of people at the house where is happened and even 2 other boys in the room if he is innocent why take the plea?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Wacked Mess

Why take the plea? Because you get a guaranteed slap on the wrist instead of a potential life-ruining conviction.

Are you willing to trust your life to 12 strangers you’ve never met, when the alternative is a misdemeanor with no jail time?

I mean, I don’t think my house is going to catch on fire, but I sure as hell have fire insurance, because the cost is minimal, and if that small chance of a fire becomes reality, I’d be screwed without it.

AttyMom says:

Re: Re: Wacked Mess

And your post just goes to show that some people are incredibly ignorant and misogynistic. SHE WAS ASSAULTED! Why should the victim of a violent crime have to quit her chosen sport, or switch schools, or “let it go” or CHEER to accommodate her male perpetrator? And you go on to describe her silent protest as “petty and vindictive”. Unreal. Sounds like you are cut from the same cloth as Rakheen Bolton.

George says:

Re: Re: Wacked Mess

Why should she be the one to quit. This sounds like blame the victim, or telling women to dress only in turtleneck tops and floor-length skirts.

She should at least been allowed to sit out the one part of the activity that required cheering for the scumbag as an individual, and not resign.

RichWa (profile) says:

Re: Re: Wacked Mess

You gotta be kidding. A girl is RAPED!!! and you say she should quit the cheerleader squad; the boy should not have been allowed to continue playing varsity sports as he admitted to assaulting the girl. “She could’ve moved to another school.” Why — she did nothing wrong.

Get something straight here — this girl is the victim of a most horrific crime yet she is the one being punished while the perpetrator/rapist barely had his hand slapped and is allowed to continue as though nothing happened.

Petty and vindictive? No way! What would you do if you were the one raped?

Common Sense says:

Re: Re: Wacked Mess

“Just goes to show ya–girls will go to some incredible lengths to be petty and vindictive.”

This comment just goes to show everybody how stupid and petty people are. This girl was raped by somebody. Somebody that should have done time not just been forced to attend “don’t be a bad guy classes.” Why don’t you try the dead art of empathy. Put yourself into her shoes for a minute. If you cant then ask yourself what you would do if a drunk driver killed one of your closest relatives in a crash and was let go because he was “manic depressive”. Are you gonna be ok with that? I mean as long as he goes to court ordered AA meetings everything should be cool right? The thing is that something would be taken from you, just as something was taken from her.
You should probably learn how to be a man before you speak like one.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I haven’t seen anyone apologizing for a rapist. At the time of the no-cheer incident, he had not been indicted, much less convicted, of any crime. That was what the school had to go on. They had no reason to kick the boy off the team (remember that the convicted, not the accused should suffer), but they had every right to kick her off the cheer squad. At first they just wanted her to leave the gym when she refused. They didn’t kick her off until she complained about that (the kick might very well have come more from the way she complained than the refusal, but I don’t know enough to say one way or the other).

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I have read a LOT of people try to state that rape is not assault though.

When in fact rape is an absolute form of ‘assault on the person’. With rape being a more specific tiered charge dealing with unwanted sexual assault, it is still assault which is why he most likely was allowed to plead to the lesser tier of ‘common assault’.

I am now wondering if after the conviction did the school remove him from the team at the least, or hopefully the school? Has the school, especially if it occurred whilst under loco parentis, made amends for there vicarious liability and/or misfeasance. Maybe that might counteract the $45K she now owes the school.. hmmmmmm

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They could have kicked him off the team for threatening to kill a teacher or the owner of the house he “raped” the girl in. From the sound of things this kid was a real piece of work, convicted or not I wouldn’t have an asshole like this playing on my team.

Ccomp5950 (profile) says:

The case was considered frivolous due to “Failure to state a claim”. For that find fault with their attorney. Just looking at their initial claim I would say they had no case, being a layman I would have told them to not file this claim.

From their original filing to the appeal

Could the school have handled it better? Sure
Were they within their rights to remove her from the squad? Sure.

You have a situation where a grand jury found there was not enough evidence to bring him up on charges, he was then allowed to play ball (innocent until proven guilty). You also have an alleged victim to worry about as well as the rights of a young man who thus far has been found not guilty.

You can’t remove the boy from the team on allegations without causing a problem for the boy.
You can’t NOT remove the boy from the team without causing a problem with the girl.

I honestly don’t know how I would have handled the situation if allowed to, I think the school could have been more sensitive to the girl not wanting to cheer for the individual.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s a little heartless, but I slightly agree with what happened here. I guess my reasoning goes to how I feel about rehabilitated sex offenders. They do their time and are released. They have to jump through all of these hoops because their presence has to be publicly known, and despite having done their time, and in the case of this hypothetical, have been classified as low risk, they cannot escape that.

If we go out of our way to make life hell for those who have paid their debt to society, why do we bother with sentence lengths, or anything? Why don’t we just have every offender for these crimes be sentenced to life without parole, or death? It’d certainly be a lot more humane than ordering them to pay their dues, then making kicking them to the curb and told to deal with it for the rest of their lives.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Then even more so. In the eyes of logic and justice, she was pitching a fit about an innocent man. I agree with Mike that I don’t like how they took the First Amendment with this case, but the ultimate ruling I feel was fair.

As for the other AC, someone higher in the comments put it well. She knew he played sports. She knew that he was going back on the team. She knew that as a cheerleader, she would end up having to cheer for him. The cynic in my wants to say that she saw this as an opportunity to get something out of the situation, but I think it’s more likely just another case of an underage girl being incredibly dense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Your comments are repulsive and point to an attitude held by many today – athletes are untouchable. Ultimately, he was not an innocent man. I do not agree with her lawsuit – no one forced her to be a chealeader. The school’s response is repugnant, but well within their rights. However, you blaming the girl? REALLY?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The girl wanted to be a cheerleader. It’s not as easy as saying, “oh, i didn’t really care about how much time and effort i put in cheerleading. i should just let this boy punish me more by not allowing me to cheerlead.”

Why is everyone just saying she should have quit being a cheerleader? Why should she have to? The school should have been sensitive to the situation. If he hadn’t been convicted yet, that means the case was still being tried. They should have just told her to sit on the bench when the cheering was directed at him and only cheer when the entire team was playing. That would have avoided all of this. The school acted stupidly here. Especially considering the boy was later convicted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“she was pitching a fit about an innocent man”

She was pitching a fit about an unconvicted man, she knew what he did to her

“The cynic in my wants to say that she saw this as an opportunity to get something out of the situation, but I think it’s more likely just another case of an underage girl being incredibly dense.”

That is quite cynical to think anyone says to themselve “well ive been raped, what can I do to get something out of this.”

Yes she knew he played, so because she got assaulted she should stop doing what she likes because the person who assaulted her is going to be around? Sounds fair i guess.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Not according to this:

“The boy was arrested, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault, and was given various punishments (community service, a fine, probation and an anger management class), but was also allowed back on the basketball team. The girl remained on the cheerleading squad, but then refused to cheer for the boy.”

Ccomp5950 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

See page 14 (Heading: QQQ:) where the 1st grand jury did not indict the boys.

Then continue until page 16 when it states the boys were let back in school and allowed to participate in sports. And then the incident occurred.

Remember this is a complaint filed by the plaintiffs so it still calls the boys “Rapists” though at the time no court has found them guilty of such (Misdemeanor Assault is not rape or even sexual assault).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The alternative undermines our entire system. He was found guilty for assault, not rape. We cannot treat him like a rapist when he was only accused, but not found guilty. That leads to far more problems than the rare cases when someone gets off unjustly easy and a girl decides that she’s going to put herself on the path to conflict.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

How about “Assault the cheerleaders or don’t assault the cheerleaders, but if you’re going to assault the cheerleaders, you can’t be on the team they cheer for.”

Oh, wait, I forgot; winning ball games is more important than whether or not someone gets assaulted.

Ccomp5950 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

At the time he was innocent since a grand jury had already said “not enough evidence”

You don’t kick people off teams for accusations.

I’m getting tired of responding to these style of comments of people that don’t realize there is a 3 year time line for all of these events, that it took 3 grand juries to indict this young man and even than the evidence is so flimsy that the state accepted a class A misdemeanor assault charge. In Texas “Misdemeanor Assault” can mean you simply threatened someone.

1.) The house party incident where the alleged rape occurred. (Oct 08)
2.) First grand jury: Nope, not enough evidence (Jan-Feb 09)
3.) The “Not going to cheer” incident (Feb 09)
4.) Bolton graduates, Round tree still has a year to go I think. (May 09)
4.) Later on Bolton pleads guilty to Class A Misdemeanor Assault (Sept 09).
5.) Round tree pleads not guilty and is still awaiting trial.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

It’s called Morton’s Fork. Google it.

When you say “either cheer for the guy or get off the team”, that is Morton’s Fork. Given that the girl clearly wants to be a cheerleader since it involves a large investment of time and money, they are in effect forcing her to cheer for her attacker. Much like how Sony forced you to get rid of Other OS via Morton’s Fork “you either get Other OS, or you get new games and access to PSN.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I don’t buy that this is “forcing” anything. She obviously chose not to do the thing she was “forced” to do.

At any rate, that’s just a semantics dispute.

I think the school should have tried to come to some compromise, but they are within their rights to kick someone off the cheer team for refusing to cheer a guy.

xs (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

He plead guilty to a lesser charge. Which usually means he committed something more serious but neither sides wants to risk loosing the case.

Regardless, the boy was convicted of ASSAULT. I think anyone who’s a victim of assault have solid ground to NOT cheer for the person who assaulted him/her. And all of you who think the girl should just quit should consider how you would feel if it’s you who have to quit your job because you don’t want to work with someone who assaulted you.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can see the logic, almost...

What seems to be the main issue is that you are under the same obligations belonging to the sports team as an employee for a company. While you as an employee have the freedom of speech, what you say can get you fired. Same thing here, she refused to perform her duty (cheer), they removed her from the event (fired). She then sued them, however, didn’t have a sound legal basis for doing such (no wrongful termination), and as such had to pay them for the trouble.

From a purely analytical perspective it makes sense, although from an emotional perspective it’s quite cruel. They should have simply never allowed to guy back on the basketball team.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: I can see the logic, almost...

Pretty much this, but I also thought that a lot of US high schools have morality contracts preventing this kind of situation from ever occurring.

Having said that; the girl here could have had one of three reaswons for doing this:

1) Genuinely being hurt, and trying to make a stand;
2) Being upset, and not thinking things through; or
3) Being a vindictive person, and trying to upset a lot of others.

IT’s an ultimately a Pyrrhic case; whoever wins, it would be at a great cost.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I can see the logic, almost...

The difference is that her function as a cheerleader is to *say* precisely what she is refusing to say.

The basketball player wasn’t refusing to perform his function as a basketball player.

For someone who criticizes poor logic (further down the page), you seem to be overlooking this huge difference.

383bigblock (profile) says:

Missing the point

Wow….its not the alleged rape, its the time served by the boy, its not the conspiracy that she joined the cheerleading team to refuse to cheer to create a litigious situation,…..its none of that.

What’s the big deal that she didn’t want to cheer for a particular boy. It’s the school….some of you might remember the beginning of the “Zero Tolerance” policies in Texas ehere a 3rd grade girl was suspended because her purse had a piece of 4 inch chain on it as a decoration. She was booted for having a “Weapon”. This is about the same issue where School Administrators check their brains at the door before opening up their mouths and making impactful decisions. I’m not aware of any rule that says you have to say “Yeah” for everyone. Why not handle the situation like an adult…..a smart adult that doesn’t put undue punishment on the cheerleader. In Texas the cheerleaders cover all of the sports, so don’t say “hey” for him during basketball season instead just hope he doesn’t make the football team.

She shouldn’t have to change schools, he shouldn’t have bury his head in the sand if he served his time and punishment…….but you can’t mandate that they will like each other or get along…..and the adult thing to do would have been to ask her to not make a scene about her refusal to cheer for the guy. She could simply walk away or pretend she had something in her eye. Everyone would get their way an no kid would be hit with a $45K fine for bringing a frivalous lawsuit against in such a highly charged and emotional situation. This case simply punished everyone because the administrator checked their brain at the door.

Michial Thompson (user link) says:

Miss the point

Since when do cheerleaders cheer individual players? Aren’t they actually there to motivate BOTH the ENTIRE Team, AND the audiance?

I also don’t even see how the First Amendment is even a part of this? And I especially don’t see how this “took the First Amendment down with it.”

This is no different than a post that I make on a forum being deleted because the forum owner doesnt like it. The school kicked her off the team because she didn’t do her job. Her refusing to do her job is not a First Amendment Right. BUT the school EXPECTING her to do her job in order to be a part of the team IS THEIR RIGHT.

If this would have been allowed to happen, then I could get a job working for anyone I wanted. Claim that I didn’t want to do my job because I didn’t like so and so and I was protesting… They wouldn’t be able to fire me if this would have been allowed to happen.

I personally also like that she still has to pay the legal fees, maybe if enough cases force the money grubber to pay for frivilous accusations there might be less of them….

CaraDee says:


Whoever said she is vindictive. SHE WAS RAPED and she gets to live with that for the rest of her life. I would cheer for the bastard either, in fact I would have screamed at him. Rehabilitated?! He wasnt even charged properly in “good ol boy Texas”. Wont be the first time and I hope and pray it is not YOUR child next in his cross hairs.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ridiculous

Yes, it does. The last time something like this came up in Maryland, the guy filed a lawsuit against the woman who said he raped her when he was found guilty of simple assault as in this case.

Guess what? The jury sided with the guy and said “Listen… the guy was convicted of ASSAULT! Not rape! Stop telling people that he raped you or you are going to be financially penalized for slandering him!”

That was the statement from one of the jurors after the case was done.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ridiculous

Do you understand what “necessarily” means?

One guy getting a slander verdict in one civil trial doesn’t mean that all such slander cases necessarily will win.

To get a criminal conviction, you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was committed.

But to defend against a civil libel/slander claim (in most cases) you can show that the guy “more likely than not” did it.

Thus, a guy might be found “not guilty” in the criminal case under a “reasonable doubt” standard and still lose his civil case because the jury thinks “more likely than not” he did it.

Now, if you’re talking about statements that he was *convicted* of rape, you might be right, since that is demonstrably false.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ridiculous

Personal opinion does not equate to slander. In the girls opinion she was raped.

The problem is that she could not prove that without any reasonable doubt being given. This is sadly the norm in most sexual assault allegations world wide. It normally comes down to a ‘I said – They said’ situation and without adequate physical evidence or at the least witnesses (though people are notoriously bad evidence givers for what they saw just by being human) the prosecution has very circumstantial proof and unreliable witnesses to go on.

That does not mean it did not happen though, and as long as she doesn’t publish it with intent to do harm to the boy but instead states it as a fact that she knows occurred to herself whether a legal forum believed her or not it is not slander.

On your logic it would be therefore libellous for us to write that he was originally accused and charged with rape

Billy Wenge-Murphy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Ridiculous

When you commit a crime you (can) become a “limited public figure”. Incorrect statements in relation to your case are by and large NOT defamatory unless made with “actual malice”

>Whether a rape occurred is not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact.

Partially correct. Rape has particular legal meanings that may differ from the common usage.

But without magical omniscience you can’t determine the fact with certainty – which is why people are free to argue their interpretation after the case is resolved, and are not limited to the court-approved version of reality which may very well be opposite from the truth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Ridiculous

“But without magical omniscience you can’t determine the fact with certainty “

Of course not, but that’s true of every case, and we still ask juries to determine the facts based on the evidence.

Are you actually aware of any case law saying that an allegation of rape cannot constitute defamation, because they are “free to argue their interpretation?”

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Ridiculous

So your stating that people are not free to argue their interpretations of what occurred to them.. ie: first person opinion on what they witnessed happening to their own personage through their own senses, and experiences.

Hearsay on the other hand could be defamatory, but Hearsay is not hearsay if I state to the world that in my opinion such and such raped me, but because of lack of probable evidence a prosecution could not occur because it was only my word.

If I stated the above with malice or intent to cause harm then yes it is defamatory, otherwise it isn’t.

If the US has any case law that states otherwise then that is prima facia evidence that not only are your defamatory laws a lot worse than the UK but that your so called freedom of speech is a fallacy and that you do not even have the implied human right of “freedom of expression”

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Ridiculous

Whether a rape occurred is not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact.

an accusation of rape can be a fact, becuase it is factually correct that someone has been accused on it. Unless convicted in a criminal court beyond a reasonable doubt an actual factual statement that a rape has occurred is NOT a fact.

But it is an opinion especially of the alleged victim. Because no matter whether the charge is proven or not that person who states they WERE raped is offering their opinion based on their experiences that they were raped.

Did you actually read all of what I typed or just the first two lines and then drew your opinion on what I was stating from that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ridiculous

“The fact is that the boy was CONVICTED of ASSAULT…. not rape. The girl has no right to keep on saying that he raped her (slander) after he has been convicted only of assault in that case.”

Try reading a few law books before you make stupid statements like that.

A plea bargain to assualt DOES NOT establish that the boy is not guity of rape. If she thinks he raped her, the girl is absolutely entitled to state that he did so in any public forum she likes. If he doesn’t like it he can sue, and a civil court will decide if he raped her or not. This time he won’t be able to cop a plea and make the issue go away, but will have a civil jury decide under a preponderence of the evidence standard, not the criminal “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. Consequently, even if the boy was aquitted of the rape charge (which he was not) he could still be found to have raped her in a civil proceeding if he tries to sue for libel.

Anonymous Coward says:

I got about halfway through the first big thread and I’m not looking any further. Here’s what it boils down to: Cheerleading (no matter what people think) is an extra-curricular activity. Extra-curricular activities are a privilege, not a right. You don’t want to play by their rules then go home. If you don’t like it, don’t fucking go to COURT FOR IT. Complain to the school board.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re:

3 would be better as “The girl’s lawyer is amazingly greedy!” most likely.

As to the people running the sports teaming being completely unscrupulous… no. At our school in Aberdeen, Maryland we had a guy who was being charged with assault with intent to kill on someone who attacked him… the school didn’t keep him from staying in it or playing in extracurricular back in 1996 when this happened.

Why? Because he hadn’t been found guilty and actually… guess what? The charges were eventually DROPPED after 3 juries came back with ‘unable to reach a verdict’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Let’s look at it this way: there could be an article tomorrow about a judge who saw a case like this and ruled:

“I know what [boys/girls] are like. Therefore the defendent is [guilty/not guilty].”

That’s some kind of precedence there. It’s the same sort of precedence that some people are trying to establish here.

Anonymous Coward says:

I could provide another example of precedent we (most of us) don’t want: Judge B and all other later judges look at the judge who knows [boys/girls] and then rules:

“Because of this precedent, in all similar cases, we will rule the same regardless of evidence.” That’s when you have a certain other kind of law, which we really don’t want.

Disgusted says:

This is a complete joke.

This is why so many girls that get raped don’t ever stand up and say anything about it. They are somehow found at fault, or called “petty” and “vindictive”. And o actually suggest that she should quit her sport or move to another school because she was made a victim is the height of arrogance and stupidity; you are saying that she should be punished by upending her life to make it easier for the person who wronged her. I don’t know that there’s really any doubt that the law is imperfect, and to expect a girl who was a victim of a boy (whether rape or something else, OBVIOUSLY something happened since he was convicted) to cheer for him is cruel, regardless of whether the law had found him guilty or not yet. I also have never seen it happen where a cheerleader is required to cheer every single second of every single cheer; the fact that someone was apparently monitoring that so closely they noticed when she didn’t cheer for one person amongst a crowd is completely astounding. And if she was supposed to cheer for him by herself, why could another cheerleader not simply cheer him instead while she cheered a different player? And I don’t care what anyone says, this is a teenage, high school girl participating in an after school activity, and you are seriously going to expect her to cheer for someone who did something to her, and then feel her duly punished when she doesn’t cheer for one person one time? It is not a job, she is not getting paid, it is supposed to be something fun to do while you are in HIGH SCHOOL. The insensitivity and idiocy of the adminstration at this school astounds me. There are so many factors at work here that highlight the very worst aspects of our law and society that it just makes me sick.

Viln (profile) says:


Lots of overly emotional posts, not the typical intellectual snarkism you get on a techdirt topic.

You have to approach the situation as though it were modular, address each decision within the limited scope of context.

It certainly sounds like there may have been rape, and the boy may have gotten off the hook. I wouldn’t find it hard to judge him a typical high school boy / local town hero with a scumbag sense of entitlement, but we don’t know what happened, and it has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion. The verdict at that time was misdemeanor assault, we take that and move on logically.

It was the school’s decision to allow the boy to return to the team. I’m sure their decision was 90% selfish desire to improve their sports achievement and 10% concern for the individual’s right to pursue happiness. However you feel about that decision, remember: misdemeanor assault, school was still legally in-bounds.

It was the girl’s decision to remain on the cheerleader squad when she failed to convince the powers that be that their decision was boorish and inappropriate. Cheerleading is similar to school theater… if you have personal convictions that conflict with the dialogue of a particular play for which you applied and got a part, and you proceed to deliberately change the lines during the production, you will be removed from the club. You are within your rights as a student to petition against the play’s content or school’s decision to reproduce it, and you can take it up the chain as high as you want, but you can’t accept a spot and then sabotage from within. The production is not a vehicle for your free speech. It’s really just that simple.

The school’s reaction was, just like most Texas school sports administrators, overly aggressive and insensitive. The girl’s lawsuit was frivolous, absolutely. The appeals court’s decision to label it so is surprising given how many other BS lawsuits don’t get the same treatment. And lastly, the Supreme Court was ENTIRELY correct in not touching this case with a 10 ft pole.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

If she were my daughter, I'd........

If it were truly a sexual assault, and the perp copped a plea to “assault” and got a free pass, which in Texas is pretty much the usual outcome in these cases, she wouldn’t have to worry about cheering for the boy, as he would be on a respirator, flat-lining, instead of playing roundball. Problem solved! In cases like this, as far as I’m concerned, the “justice” system blows, especially in places like Texas, where the courts are as corrupt as the day is long.

Rich Fiscus (profile) says:

Sorry Mike, but the courts got this one right. Becoming a cheerleader is a textbook example of voluntarily surrendering some of your free speech rights. Had she been kicked off the squad for telling other students not to cheer for the guy outside of her cheerleading duties you would have a point.

Even if we assume he got away with raping her, that doesn’t alter her legal standing with respect to the school. The 2 are completely separate issues.

Having said that, if it were one of my daughters I would fully support her decision to protest in this way. At the same time, I make sure she understands that moral justification and the law are 2 separate things.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, I agree. Saying you give up your first ammendment right to not cheer for the team by joining the cheerleading squad is like saying you give up your first ammendment right to bash Sony by being hired as head of marketting. No one is preventing you from bashing Sony or not cheering, it just means you are doing a bad job and won’t last long.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

At the time, while he may not have been convicted, he was still standing accused. They should have been sensitive to the issue and instead of automatically taking the athlete’s side, work out the issue and just have her sit on the bench while the team cheers specifically for him and let her cheer on the rest of the team like she was doing previously. They shouldn’t have forced her to cheer for someone who was currently in court for allegedly raping her. Moreover, he should have been suspended from the team until acquittal/conviction. It happens in major sports, it should happen here to.

The school had a multitude of better ways to go about this, but instead chose to actively side with the athlete instead of being impartial.

Anonymous Coward says:

Having read much of this thread, and as a practicing attorney, I must make a few statments to the various posters sprouting nonsense about innocence and libel.

(ps – I am also helpless withit my spell checker, so please indulge the bad spelling)

[1] A plea bargain does not establish that you are innocent of anything. It does establish that you are guilty of the offense you plead to. Consequently the boy has been found guilty of assault, but has not been found innocent of rape as so many posters believe.

[2] even if he had gone to trial on the rape charge and been found not guilty by a jury, this does necessarily make statements that he is a rapist libelious. Libel is a civil matter, and the standards of proof are different in criminal and civil cases. A criminal “not guilty” means that the evidence did not show that the defendant was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” The same charge could be brought a a civil case, and he could be found guilty, because the civil courts apply a different standard of proof “perponderence of the evidence.”

[3] think of the OJ Simpson cases – not guilty under the criminal “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, but guilty in the subsequent civil suit under the preponderence of the evidence” standard. Browns reltioves did not libel Simpson by saying he killed her after he was found not guilty in a criminal setting.

[4] Thefore, please, (a) nobody believe that a plea to a lesser offense is a finding that you are innocent of a gerater one; (b) nobody believe that a statment that one committed an offense is automatically libelious if one has ben found not guilty of it in a criminal setting.

HothMonster says:

This kid seems like a real stand-up individual. I’m sure none of this has to do with small towns giving undue privilege to star athletes. I especially like the part were he threatens to kill the owner of the house he raped the girl in because she had the clothes he left behind when he ran away.

If even half of this document is true this boy should have been off the team a long time ago. But he was probably really good so he gets a free pass do be a horrible human being. Ask Bryant and Vick about that.

If they don’t want to side with the girl in this case thats fine but to make her pay fees for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit, thats just adding insult to injury.

I hope the girl gets pictures of this kid after someone puts him in his place. Small town high school athlete with a history of violence, threats and sexual assault…someone is gonna rip this kid a new asshole in college.

AnonymousHero says:


She’s free to leave the cheer squad if she is unable to perform her duties. It’d be like a vegetarian working at McDonalds who doesnt want to serve people burgers 😛 it’s part of the job to cheer, if she cant do it then she should get out.

That said I would assume from the article that the girl in question likely didnt have enough evidence to substantiate their ‘sexual assault’ claim otherwise a prosecutor would never plead down a sex charge to mere assault.

Mister Flabbergasted says:

Whacked Mess

This is blatantly wrong and a good indication of where the U.S. is going, legally – to hell in a handbasket and Texas is leading the way.

This young woman has the right to vote with her feet and if she doesn’t want to cheer on the predator that raped her, then that’s her right. And why should she?!

Why was this kid given community service and nothing harsher? I thought Texas was the big, bad, fry’em state. Why wasn’t he given some time? Oh, you raped somebody, here, take this broom and sweep the street for a few days.

Ridiculous. part of his sentence should have been mandatory relocation to another high school. That way the young woman shouldn’t have been in the horrible position of seeing his horrible face (reformed or not) and re-living her trauma on a daily basis.

Sound unfair? Imagine if she were your sister or your cousin and then let’s talk about unfair. You’d then agree that the rapist – sorry, reformed rapist – should be moved to another school immediately.

I think the superintendent of the gym should give his head a good shake – what a tosser.

Truth says:

Re: Whacked Mess

People should look into things before they speak. The boy was not convicted of rape but of assault (which he plead guilty to). That was why he was not given a harsher sentence and not removed from the team. The courts and the prosecutor found that they did not have sufficient evidence to charge him with rape. Because he was not charged with rape he was allowed to return to the team and was only punished for the assault charge- the community service and what not. Once he was convicted for the assault charge and was informed that he would be allowed back on the team that was when she had the opportunity to voice her objectives and seek other options. She did not. There was more then enough time between the sentencing for assault and the game she refused to cheer at for her to attempt to get something done. It was the way that she said nothing knowing before hand that as a cheerleader she would have to cheer for the team he was on and yet did nothing. I think that the case was a complete waist of time and effort and may have been an attempt for a quick buck ( I don’t know for sure, just a maybe ) but I do think that the amount was a little high for her to have to pay even though she did waist a lot of time. As for her being removed from the team, I have to say that was the right move. I don’t know about the school that she attends and what their polices are but when I was in team sports we had contracts that we signed. They included dress codes, grades, and the fact that we had to participate in all team functions unless previous express permission was given. She did not get that permission. I think that the right calls where made except for the amount she had to pay.

Mhatter says:

So no one here has a problem with a court thinking that by not cheering on guy, this girl was impeding the work of the school (and according to some on this thread, torturing the poor schmuck who was acquitted by a court due to lack of evidence)?

Maybe the comments here prove the whole point of the original article – there is something seriously wrong with a system that believes a school’s job is to ensure their sport stars get the ego-boosting they need to win games, instead of developing and churning out well educated and balanced students.

Moop says:


People seem to be forgetting that SHE has to pay 45 grand!! All she did was refuse to cheer and SHE has to pay!? It was an extracurricular acitivity, not a job! Hell, would she be sued if she was sick the day and couldn’t turn up!? What if she died, would her parents be sued by the school? Somehow I think this schools officials are so moronic that yes, they would!

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