Navarro College Cheerleader Alleges Coach Discouraged Her from Reporting Sexual Assault in New Lawsuit
Navarro College cheerleader has filed a lawsuit alleging that the school’s cheer coach, Monica Aldama, and other cheerleading squad members and staff members discouraged her from reporting her sexual assault.
According to the lawsuit filed in Dallas, the plaintiff, a female cheerleader, claims another squad member sexually assaulted her during her first semester at Navarro. When she went to report the assault, the lawsuit alleges, Aldama, other cheerleaders, campus police, and the school’s Title IX coordinator urged her not to.
The plaintiff also contended that Aldama would help her cheerleading career if she did not report the assault. Aldama, Navarro College’s Director of Athletics, Michael Landers, Navarro College’s Title IX Coordinator Elizabeth Pillans, and the college are all named as defendants in the lawsuit, along with the man accused of assaulting the cheerleader.
Navarro College and Aldama deny the allegations in the lawsuit. However, the plaintiff says that she joined the team at Navarro in the fall of 2021 and was “shocked” by the partying culture. The other cheerleaders “drank alcohol excessively and abused drugs,” she claimed.
The plaintiff alleges that in Sept. 2021, her roommate brought male cheerleaders back to their room around 4 a.m. when she was asleep. One of the men climbed into her bed and started to assault her, she alleges. She called for help and was eventually able to push him away, she claimed.
When the plaintiff told others on the team about the alleged incident the next day, she claims, an older cheerleader said: “You just need to drink it off and get your mind off of it” because “that’s what Navarro girls do— they drink. So we don’t tell anyone. We keep it to ourselves.”
The plaintiff was also allegedly urged not to tell Aldama about the alleged assault and was followed around by two male cheerleaders to ensure that she did not report it to anyone. When she said her longtime boyfriend, the suit alleges, came to the Navarro campus with friends and argued with male cheerleaders before campus police barred them from the grounds.
The male cheerleaders allegedly followed the plaintiff and her boyfriend as they left in a car, pointed guns at them, and “threatened to kill them for reporting the assault.”The plaintiff said she then reported the assault to Aldama, who allegedly told her not to tell others, saying, “If you keep quiet, I’ll make sure you can cheer anywhere you want,” according to the lawsuit.
She also says that Navarro’s Title IX Coordinator, Elizabeth Pillans, said neither the school nor the local police had access to a rape kit. This is one of several sexual assault lawsuits against Navarro’s cheerleading squad. In Sept. 2020, breakout Cheer star Jerry Harris was accused by their underage twin brothers of allegedly sexually abusing them and demanding nude photographs.
Harris was later arrested on a federal charge for allegedly producing, requesting, and using child pornography. In July 2022, Harris was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the costs, and in Feb. 2021, two other male cheerleaders who had been on the Navarro team were arrested on sex offense charges.
One, Robert Joseph Scianna Jr., was arrested in Virginia and charged with taking indecent liberties with a child and using an electronic communication device to solicit sex, later pleading guilty. The other, Mitchell Ryan, was arrested in Texas on a charge of felony aggravated sexual assault of a child, but a grand jury declined to indict him.
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