Former Marshall cheerleader says squad sexually harassed her

By John O'Brien | Jun 22, 2006

CHARLESTON - A former Marshall University cheerleader is suing the squad's coach, the university's Board of Governors and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission over sexual harassment she says she had to endure while a cheerleader.

To protect her identity, she filed the lawsuit under her initials, K.C. She did so June 13 in Kanawha Circuit Court through attorney Mary Downey.

In it, she claims male members of the squad exposed themselves, rubbed their genitals on the female members' faces and called the females "bitches, whores" and other derogatory names, including one typically used to refer to female genitalia.

She adds that several cheers had code names of a sexual nature, and that longtime coach Donna Dunn was partly to blame. She says Dunn even instructed the girls to act in a sexually provocative manner at a golf fundraiser.

K.C. says she was invited to join the squad in April 2005 and was given a scholarship. She started at Marshall that August.

But she says her experience as a cheerleader wasn't what she expected.

"Male members of the cheerleading squad routinely made offensive actions toward female squad members, including exposing their genitalia, rubbing their scrotum on a female team member's face as she stretched on the floor, groping female members' breasts, shouting 'Throw the bitches up' and grabbing their genitalia area," the complaint says.

It adds that head male cheerleader Richard Edmunds pulled down her sports bra and instructed her "not to be a bitch or she would find her ass hitting the ground."

K.C. also says he exposed his penis to her, rubbed his scrotum on her head and face, promised her a permanent spot on the squad if she would have sex with him, requested they make a pornographic video together and "announced that he wanted to f--k her."

She blames Dunn for "calling cheers by names such as 'Bearded Clam.. .., More Head and String of Pearls."

Also, she says Dunn ordered the female cheerleaders to put golf balls down their cleavage and skirts at a golf function and also expected them to kiss a putter shaped like a penis and show their breasts. K.C. adds that Dunn encouraged the females to throw up to lose weight. When she refused, she says she was put on probation for not being personable.

After telling Edmunds that she could not continue with the situation, K.C. says she was kicked off the squad and lost her scholarship.

She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-1123

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