Cheerleading coach Monica Aldama – best known for appearing in the Netflix series "Cheer" – is accused of covering up an alleged sexual assault of a cheerleader. Aldama vehemently denies the accusations and is "heartbroken" over the allegations.
A female cheerleader was sexually assaulted by a male member of the Navarro College cheerleading squad, according to the lawsuit. The cheerleader feels as though she was "blackballed" after making the sexual assault accusations, according to the 20-page lawsuit.
Former Navarro College cheerleader Madi Lane filed a federal lawsuit in Dallas on Wednesday against Aldama and other staff members at the school. The lawsuit claims that Aldama, 51, persuaded the cheerleader not to report an alleged sexual assault. Lane asserts that Aldama promised to advance her cheerleading career if she kept quiet about the alleged sexual assault.
The lawsuit accuses Navarro College, Aldama, and administrators of fostering "a campus condition rife with sexual assault and lacking the basic standards of support for victims as required by state and federal law."
In September 2021, Lane's roommate brought male cheerleaders back to their home around 4 a.m., including former teammate Salvatore "Salvo" Amico.
The Dallas Morning News reported, "The male cheerleader crawled into the plaintiff’s bed, pulled her shirt up and groped her before taking her underwear off and assaulting her, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiff 'screamed' at him to stop before pushing him away and making him leave."
Lane allegedly told Aldama about the sexual assault, and the cheerleading coach purportedly told her, "Let's not make this a big deal. I want the best for you."
Aldama allegedly told Lane, "If you keep quiet, I’ll make sure you can cheer anywhere you want."
Lane allegedly told other cheerleaders about the purported sex crime. Fellow cheerleaders reportedly told Lane to go to a party that night, and one teammate allegedly told the plaintiff to "drink it off."
"That’s what Navarro girls do — they drink," the cheerleader allegedly told the plaintiff. "We don’t tell anyone. We just keep it to ourself."
"The plaintiff told her boyfriend about what happened, the lawsuit said. The boyfriend, three of his friends and the plaintiff drove to Navarro. The boyfriend went to the male cheerleader’s dorm, but somebody was blocking it. That person called the police and accused the boyfriend of assault. The boyfriend in turn reported the plaintiff’s alleged assault to police," according to the Dallas Morning News.
Male cheerleaders allegedly followed the plaintiff and her boyfriend as they drove off in a car. The male cheerleaders reportedly pointed guns at the couple, and "threatened to kill them for reporting the assault."
The male cheerleader accused of sexual assault allegedly apologized to the plaintiff.
Lane allegedly quit the cheerleading team over the sexual assault accusations.
The lawsuit named Aldama, athletic director Michael Landers, the Title IX coordinator Elizabeth Pillans, and the man accused of sexual assault.
Navarro College "denies any allegations of wrongdoing and is prepared to vigorously defend itself in court."
Navarro College said in a statement:
Navarro College is aware that a lawsuit was filed yesterday against the college and several employees. The college denies any allegations of wrongdoing and is prepared to vigorously defend itself in court. The safety and welfare of students is always of utmost priority. Navarro College prohibits sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against all students and is deeply committed to providing an educational environment free from sex discrimination and sexual assault. The College has established robust policies and procedures for reporting, investigating, and responding to all allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Navarro College takes every report of sexual harassment and sexual assault seriously and acts swiftly to provide an appropriate response to protect all students.
Aldama has also vehemently denied the accusations of covering up the sexual assault.
"I am heartbroken by the false allegations made against me," Aldama said in a statement. "As the Navarro Cheer coach, the health and safety of the students I coach is my main concern. I have worked year after year to make sure Navarro Cheer is a safe space for all cheerleaders."
"We do not condone or cover-up reports of sexual harassment and assault. As an athletics coach and Navarro College employee, I take all Title IX matters very seriously, especially reports of sexual misconduct," Aldama said.
The Netflix TV series "Cheer" debuted in January 2020, and the second season premiered in January 2022.
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