Coastal Carolina University took "unprecedented measures" by suspending its entire cheerleading team over an anonymous letter, an attorney for some of the team's cheerleaders said.

Myrtle Beach attorney Amy Lawrence on Thursday announced she was representing five of the team's cheerleaders.

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

"Even more disheartening is that these girls were not permitted due process in their own defense to show just how outlandish and ridiculous these allegations truly are. The Coastal Carolina cheerleading team is full of bright, athletic, good, teal bleeding women and men who genuinely love their school. I look forward to working on behalf of these girls to defend and uphold their integrity and bring the truth to light."

Coastal officials have refused to discuss the nature of their investigation or what specifically led the university to suspend the entire team. Coastal Vice President William M. Plate Jr. has said there are currently no police reports pertaining to the investigation.

The cheerleading section of the CCU Athletics website has been removed from the website, and now directs to the school’s main Spirit Team page.

A cheerleading showcase scheduled for April 4 at the HTC Center was removed from the center’s schedule. The showcase was to be held ahead of the team’s scheduled appearance at a national competition in Florida. 

An unnamed cheerleader who spoke to the Chronicle’s news partner WMBF told the television station that an investigator with the Coastal’s Department of Public Safety came to their practice on March 29. The cheerleader said police told the team that Coastal President David DeCenzo had received an anonymous letter alleging team members were involved in prostitution and other crimes. Team members were questioned by police and were allowed to leave after being told they did nothing wrong, according to the WMBF report.

Lawrence told that Coastal's Department of Public Safety is investigating the letter, but no charges have been filed against the cheerleaders and the investigation has not turned up evidence that they committed any crime.

Lawrence is familiar with high-profile cases. She is representing some of the women who accused for HCPD Detective Allen Large of sexual assault.

A 27-year veteran of the HCPD, Large was fired on July 31, 2015, because of sustained sexual harassment allegations, according to county records. Following a State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigation, he was indicted in September on six counts of misconduct in office and five counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. His criminal case has not gone to court.

In January, county officials settled a civil lawsuit filed by Large's first accuser. The amount of the settlement was not released.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236


I'm the editor of and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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