KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Lawyers for the defendants who say teenage athletes were physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by their cheerleading coach say they are hearing of dozens of other individuals with similar stories.

“This is not over, not even close to it, I can’t even say this is the tip of the iceberg,” said attorney Ally Benevento.

Benevento and other lawyers with the South Carolina-based Strom Law Firm along with Tennessee State Representative John Ray Clemmons filed the 71-page federal lawsuit Monday.

In it, they accuse competitive cheer company Memphis-based Varsity Spirit, U.S. All Star Federation, USA Federation of Sport Cheering, private investment companies Bain Capital and Charlesbank Capital Partners and Knoxville-based Premier Athletics among others of gross negligence, violating the Protecting Young Victims From Sexual Abuse Act and violations of the RICO Act.

The plaintiffs in the suit are named John Doe 1 and Doe 2, but Doe 1’s mother, named Mary Doe in the filing, is also included as her son was a minor at the time of the events mentioned in the suit and the alleged abuser was in his 20s.

However, Benevento says the issues at the root of this case extend far beyond just these plaintiffs.

“There is no doubt in my mind that there are dozens upon dozens, if not hundreds or dare I say even more because we are talking about decades of this type of sexualized culture of putting adults with children and mixing it with drugs and alcohol and normalizing sexually deviant behavior,” she said.

For John Doe 1, speaking out now and taking action is not only about him but helping previous and potential future victims of abuse.

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“I just really want that to stop just for them because I don’t know how they are feeling about this but I know this can hurt them and their mental health like it did for mine.,” John Doe 1 said.

The lawsuit says one of Doe’s coaches who was also an idol in the cheer world or “cheerlebrity” asked him for “sexually explicit photographs,” “requested that [he] smoke marijuana before meeting him,” and that the two “engaged in oral sex.”

John Doe 1 says cheerleading was always a happy place for him, but when the messages from his coach started getting explicit in early 2022, he started getting depressed, and his Mom says her son even resulted to self-harm at times.

“I feel rage, like complete rage. This is like his first relationship and now he has learned to be manipulated and violated and not trust and it’s been a lot of damage I’ll say that,” Mary Doe said.

She added that the coach acted as a mentor for her son before the allegations in the lawsuit started.

“He is like a cheer god and the grooming was very slow. It was about helping him with cheer and helping him with tumbling and then it turned to send nude pictures and masturbation and things I wish I had never seen and then he would say this is our secret don’t tell anyone,” Mary Doe recalled.

A University of Tennessee cheerleader named in the lawsuit as having abused John Doe 1 has been dismissed from the organization after accusations of sexual abuse in a federal lawsuit.

The cheerleader’s attorney has said he is reviewing the suit and has no additional comments at this time.

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For more about this lawsuit and responses to the allegations, please go here.