A sex offender who coaches cheerleading used various tactics to keep her job. Mishelle Robinson, 44, was barred from cheerleading by the US All Star Federation last year after being convicted of sexual battery of a high school boy she coached in 2006. However, she was able to find a loophole in the ban by rebranding her gym and registering the facility under her son's name, according to USA Today.
The Ohio gym, Empire All Stars, performed in a cheer competition in December and registered for another this weekend in Indianapolis. USAF told USA Today the program has been suspended again and is under investigation. "Athlete protection is our top priority and we will take all steps possible to prevent anyone from circumventing our membership policies, "USASF said in a statement.
In September, USA Today reported Robinson planned to put her son Austin in charge of the cheer program while she would focus on the dance program. Despite being banned in October, Robinson was involved in the day-to-day operations. The facility opened in 2015, and Robinson told USA Today she put her sister's name on the paperwork as she knew she wouldn't be able to pass a background check.
“My sister is actually the registered owner with USASF,” she said in August. “Which we share a lot of it anyway, so no big deal.” Robinson's sister, Christina Williams, was also banned by USASF in October but is still connected to the gym. Recently, she submitted a video of an Empire cheer team, the Bombshells into the 2020 World Spirit Federation All Star Cheer and Dance Virtual Championship. The Bombshells were set to perform at JAMfest in Indianapolis this weekend. Varsity, the largest producer of cheer competitions, told USA Today initially allowed Empire All Stars to register for both competitions because of their ties with USASF.
“However, our internal review has found that Empire All Stars is tangentially associated with Empire Cheer and Dance and Varsity Spirit has made the independent decision to ban the gym from attending future Varsity Spirit events,” Jackie Kennedy, the company’s vice president of marketing and communications, told USA Today. In July, USASF banned or suspended 16 people. Since USA Today began an investigation on the sport, the number has increased to 150 people.