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Anonymous letter sent to CCU officials alleges cheerleaders involved in escort service

(WPDE file image)

An incident report related to the suspension of the Coastal Carolina University cheerleading team was released to ABC 15 News in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The team was suspended indefinitely this past week without any further comment from the university. At the time, the university also stated that there was not an incident report related to the case.

But, according to the newly obtained report, on March 13 around 4 p.m., CCU Police Chief David Roper and an investigator with CCU Department of Public Safety met with several university officials to discuss a letter that was sent to several members of the university.

The letter alleges that CCU Cheerleaders were operating an escort service and were working in strip clubs and prostituting themselves, according to the report.

The report also states that the cheerleaders were trying to entice younger cheerleaders to do the same.

Warning: The report contains details and language that some may find offensive.

It also states that the older cheerleaders were providing alcohol at parties and forcing younger, underage, cheerleaders to drink. The report also cites cheerleaders paying others to do their school work for them and, if the younger cheerleaders didn’t oblige, they were harassed and not “accepted” on the team.

The author of the letter threatened to go public with the information in an attempt to humiliate and discredit the university.

The letter was signed, “A concerned parent.”

Related: CCU suspends cheerleading team pending investigation, team calls accusations "false"

Further investigation into who sent the anonymous letter revealed that it was sent from the Carolina Forest Post Office and that the person walked up to the counter to mail it, the report said.

The university was able to get a video of the person who mailed the letter through the postal inspector.

The person is described as a heavy–set man with salt and pepper-colored hair. The report states they are still trying to identify the person.

On March 20, the CCU officer received information from a source, who wished to remain anonymous, and who said they had text messages between two students, with one being a former CCU cheerleader.

In the text message, the former cheerleader said that the “escort service” was real, according to the incident report.

Part of the incident report is redacted, but states that some were, and are currently, involved in an escort service working through a website called SeekingArrangements.com.

The investigation also confirmed that escorts were paid between $100 and $1,500 per date. The escorts also received payments in the form of gifts such as clothes, shoes and designer handbags, according to the incident report.

A search warrant for someone’s phone (the incident report is redacted), showed evidence of an escort service. When asked about the “sugar daddy” contacts, the person told investigators that she and her friends have gone on dates with men for money, but that sexual favors were not performed, according to the incident report.

Text messages also confirmed the “sugar daddy” contacts, according to the incident report.

A group text circulated through the cheerleaders sent on March 28 also referenced the investigation into prostitution and encouraged current cheerleaders to delete their “seeking arrangements” application from their phones and, for those working at a strip club, to quit their job until Nationals so that no one would be dismissed, according to the incident report.

On March 28, six current cheerleaders were brought to the CCU Public Safety building to be interviewed.

Of the six interviews, four of the people interviewed knew of and participated in the escort service. They received money and gifts from going on dinner dates and shopping dates. One of the interviewees did not go on dates for money, but did have the Seeking Arrangements app, the report said.

In total, according to the incident report, 11 cheerleaders knew of the escort service and 7 did not. Interviews are still being conducted.

The people involved in the initial meeting on March 14 include CCU President David DeCenzo, two university attorneys, CCU Cheerleading Coaches Marla Sage and Kelly Moore; Athletic Director Matt Hogue; the university’s Title IX coordinator and the assistant dean of student conduct.

Amy Lawrence, an attorney representing five members of the CCU cheerleading team, released a statement on Thursday, saying in part:

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.

We will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as they come in.


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