A top cheerleading coach now stands accused of sexually offending against 14 girls she trained – but a court has heard she still intends to plead not guilty.
A top cheerleading coach now stands accused of sexually offending against 14 girls she trained – but a court has heard she still intends to plead not guilty.

Female cheerleading coach accused of abusing 14 girls

Fourteen girls have accused a top cheerleading coach of sexual offending, a court has heard - some of it dating back to when that coach was herself underage.

On Tuesday, the Adelaide Magistrates Court heard the number of complainants, down from a possible 17 alleged victims, had not altered the woman's stance on the case.

Craig Caldicott, for the woman, asked the case be immediately sent to the District Court for trial.

"We would like this matter to be committed, we would like my client to be able to enter her pleas of not guilty, and we would like this matter to proceed," he said.

"We have been concerned by ongoing delays in this matter, and we say it can be committed (for trial) today."

The woman, 22, has worked with cheerleading teams that have competed around Australia and overseas.

Neither her name nor image can be published as it may tend to identify her alleged victims, whose privacy and anonymity are guaranteed under SA law.

The woman first faced court in April, when prosecutors alleged the offending occurred between August 2015 and December 2017 in a suburb north of the city.

They alleged the exploitation consisted of at least three sexual acts against a female minor including kissing and inappropriate touching of her body.

They further alleged the woman also showed the victim sexually inappropriate videos.

In July, prosecutors filed two further counts of persistent sexual exploitation and four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse.

Those offences, alleged to have occurred between August 2015 and April 2016, took the total number of alleged victims to three.

However, prosecutors also said they were investigating allegations involving 14 other girls.

The woman has repeatedly maintained her innocence, saying the charges arise from a rivalry between two cheerleading clubs.

On Tuesday, prosecutors told the court that, following investigations, there "are total of 14 young people who make allegations which potentially constitute an offence".

"At least nine of those make allegations with respect to a period of time when the defendant would have herself been a youth," they said.

"I want to make it very plain we are still very likely to lead their evidence (at trial) but they will not be the subject of individual charges."

They asked for further time to finalise the case - a request Mr Caldicott opposed.

"If the matter is committed for trial today, prosecutors will still have two to three months to speak to the various witnesses and get whatever they need," he said.

The state's chief magistrate, Judge Mary-Louise Hribal, disagreed and remanded the woman on continuing bail to answer the charges next month.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
 

Originally published as Cheerleading coach accused of abusing 14 girls



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