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Cheerleaders at Coastal Carolina U. Were in ‘Escort Service,’ Police Say

Updated (4/7/2017, 3:27 p.m.) with comment from the university.

Coastal Carolina University’s police department investigated members of the recently suspended cheerleading team in March and found that some members had gone on dates for pay, newly released documents show.

It’s unclear if the university suspended the cheerleaders for using SeekingArrangement, which calls itself a “leading Sugar Daddy dating site.” A spokeswoman for the university, Mona Prufer, wrote in an email to The Chronicle that the institution was still reviewing the team.

“The university, as an institution, has an interest in upholding its educational mission and its code of ethical conduct,” Ms. Prufer wrote. “No other information is available, as the investigation is ongoing.”

Previous news reports indicate that the entire squad had been suspended from competition pending an investigation. Team members can continue to attend classes.

The investigator found that members of the team “were and are currently involved in an escort service,” he wrote, and that they were paid $100 to $1,500 per date. “Sexual favors were not performed,” the investigator said he was told.

The investigation stemmed from an anonymous letter, sent to the university, that accused cheerleaders of working in strip clubs and “prostituting themselves.” The letter, signed “A concerned parent,” also said that team members had engaged in such hazing-like behaviors as forcing younger members to drink, and that cheerleaders “are paying others to do their schoolwork for them.”

“In the letter, the person threatens to go public with the information in an attempt to humiliate and discredit the university,” the investigation documents say.

Amy S. Lawrence, a lawyer representing members of the cheerleading team, criticized the university’s response as unfair.

“There has been no evidence or proof of hazing, prostitution, drug use, homework for pay, or any other of the accusations made by a nameless coward,” she said in a written statement. “Would this ever happen to a male sports team?”

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