High profile cases of young athletes being sexually abused have proven the crimes aren't always the vile acts of one person. Also responsible are those who turned a blind eye.
That's why the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and state Attorney General's Office need to start an investigation into Rockstar Cheer of Greer despite the death by suicide of its founder and accused sexual abuser, Scott Foster.
The State's Lyn Riddle reported on a coming lawsuit by the Strom Law Firm that alleges Foster had multiple victims and that others at Rockstar Cheer and other organizations overlooked or enabled sexual abuse. The Department of Homeland Security was looking into Foster before he killed himself, South Carolina news outlets have reported.
Representatives of SLED and the Greenville County Sheriff's Office said their agencies were not part of an investigation into Foster or Rockstar, Riddle reported.
Those police agencies should be part of an investigation starting today.
South Carolina needs its own investigation, separate from the federal agency and its intent, to assure the public that a thorough probe has been done, that any enablers are held to account in state court and that the state's own police agencies have nothing to hide.
South Carolina agents need to look no further than the Jerry Sandusky case. Sandusky, who had a decades-long career as an assistance football coach at Penn State, was found guilty in 2011 on 45 counts of sexually abusing young boys he met through a foundation he created. An investigation ordered by the Penn State board found that powerful university leaders concealed Sanduksy's abuse to avoid bad publicity.
Did anyone know about allegations of abuse by Foster and ignore them? South Carolina agents need to find that out.
A case that should strike closer to home for South Carolina agents is that of Larry Nassar, a former doctor for the U.S.A. Olympic gymnastics team and Michigan State University. In 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually abusing minors and having child pornography. Michigan State University was fined $4.5 million for failing "to properly disclose the incidents, notify campus security authorities or issue timely warnings about what was going on," NPR reported.
Dozens of current and former athletes, including prominent U.S. gymnasts, are suing the Federal Bureau of Investigations for failing to act on abuse allegations against Nassar in 2015.
South Carolina agents must ensure that no police agencies ignored or took too lightly any claims of abuse or other potential crimes by Foster.
The investigation by South Carolina agents needs to be done in a public manner with regular updates to the media so that nothing can be seen as a cover up.
An in-depth probe by South Carolina agents might not unveil any wrongdoing by others around Foster. But a full-investigation into that is needed now - not another blind eye.