A statement from CCU Vice President of University Communication and Marketing William Plate, Jr., confirmed the entire squad had been “suspended indefinitely pending a conduct investigation” on March 30.
The report released pursuant to News13’s Freedom of Information request includes text messages from members of the cheerleading team and also a copy of the letter mailed to university officials that started the investigation that led to the suspension of the squad.
According to the document, investigators met with university officials on March 13 after five anonymous letters were mailed to CCU alleging members of the cheerleading team were “operating an escort service” and “working in strip clubs, prostituting themselves” and “providing alcohol at parties and forcing younger, underage, cheerleaders to drink.” The letter also alleged the team members were paying others to do their schoolwork for them and other cheerleaders used illegal drugs.
The letter was signed “a concerned parent” and the person threatened to go public with the accusations in an attempt to humiliate and discredit CCU.
The investigative report includes a copy of one letter sent to CCU President David A. Decenzo.
The letter included the names of individual team members accused of each issue, but the document was redacted by investigators to hide the identities of the cheerleaders.
The report says the investigation by the CCU Department of Public Safety revealed some of the allegations mentioned in the letter were true. The document prepared by Investigator Michelyn Pylilo confirms members of the team were and are currently involved in an escort service called SeekingArrangements.com.
Investigators say the escorts were paid between $100 and $1,500 per date and also received payment in the form of clothes, shoes and designer handbags. Investigator Pylilo confirmed the information through recorded interviews with members of the team and text messages obtained via search warrants. When asked about the escort service, one girl admitted she had gone on dates for money but told officials that sexual favors were not performed.
The investigation also found the cheerleaders were warned by a team member on March 28, about the investigation and told to delete their Seeking Arrangement apps on their phones and also encouraged those who were working at a strip club to quit their jobs until the national cheer competition was over.
On March 28, six current cheerleaders were brought to the Public Safety Building and interviewed.
The first team member said she knew about the escort service, had the app on her phone but did not go on dates for money. The second admitted to participating in the escort service and going on a dinner date for $100.
Another cheerleader said she went on a shopping date through the escort service with another girl where they received shoes, clothes, Michael Kors purses and another date where both girls were paid $1,500 each. She also says the incidents occurred in North Carolina and both times they spent the night, but there was nothing sexual.
A fourth cheerleader knew and participated in the service and works at Thee Doll House as a shot girl. She had gone a date for $100 through the service, and was offered $800 to escort a man to New York Prime.
Another team member interviewed on March 28 told investigators she had also been paid $1,500 to go on a date in North Carolina.
According to investigator Michelyn Pylilo, 11 of the team members said they knew about the escort service in an interview and 7 told officials they did not know about the escorting.
Interviews are still being conducted, officials say.
The report released Thursday did not acknowledge the other accusations mentioned in the letter to university officials.
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