Cheer star Monica Aldama shared her reaction to the news that student Madi Lane is suing her and Navarro College for allegedly concealing a sexual assault.
The cheerleading coach, 51, told TMZ on Friday, April 28, that she is “heartbroken by the false allegations” in Lane’s lawsuit. The Texas native went on to note that she’s worked “year after year” to keep the Navarro cheer team a safe space, adding that she would not remain silent if she were “aware that any sexual misconduct occurred in the cheer program.”
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A rep for Navarro College, meanwhile, told the outlet that the school plans to “vigorously defend itself in court.”
Earlier this week, Us Weekly confirmed that Lane — a Navarro student who was formerly a member of Aldama’s squad — filed a lawsuit against the coach and the Texas school. In court documents obtained by Us, Lane alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a teammate during her first semester at the college in 2021.
Lane went on to claim that she report the incident to Aldama, who allegedly told her to “not make this a big deal.” While Lane decided to quit the Navarro cheer team, she claimed that the Full Out author offered to help her find another team if she kept “quiet” about the alleged misconduct.
According to the court filing, Lane also reported the alleged assault to campus police, who allegedly told her “this type of thing happens all the time” and “nothing will happen” in terms of the assailant facing consequences.
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After news of Lane’s lawsuit broke, Aldama briefly deactivated her Instagram account.
The Navarro cheer squad was previously at the center of a scandal when former student Jerry Harris was arrested on charges of production of child pornography after an FBI investigation. The Illinois native, now 23, was also accused of soliciting sex from minors while at cheerleading competitions.
The former Netflix personality initially pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges, including four counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of enticement, one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of travel with the intent to engage in an illicit sexual contact with a minor. In February 2022, Harris changed his plea on two of the counts ahead of his sentencing hearing. The reality star was sentenced to 12 years in prison in July 2022.
Harris was absent from season 2 of Cheer amid the scandal, but his former teammates and Aldama mentioned the controversy in the docuseries.
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“I can’t even wrap my head around how I should feel. This has been a tough year,” Aldama said in the season 2 premiere, which dropped in January 2022. “But then there are moments that are so wonderful. These little moments of success that keep you coming back, just the little things that add up. … I keep putting one foot in front of the other, every single day. I don’t have a choice.”
The Texas native added that she was filming Dancing With the Stars when she found out about Harris’ arrest. “I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was already terrified,” she recalled. “I did the show and then I went back to my trailer. I didn’t even want to look at my phone because I was scared. I didn’t want to hear anymore because I was in such a vulnerable position at the time with what I was going through, and I just couldn’t take the weight of all it.”
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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