Cheerleader sues Navarro College over alleged sexual assault
NAVARRO -- A North Texas college known for its incredible cheer program is being sued by a former cheerleader, CBS DFW reports. The now 20-year-old says he was drugged and sexually assaulted by an assistant coach.
"Living in fear is … probably the hardest part," he said. "Just the images, the memories, you can never shake them."
He enrolled at Navarro College in 2015 hoping to win a national cheerleading championship. He and his family met Andre McGee the very first day.
"Everybody said, 'Oh you're one of the new cheerleaders. Andre takes great care of you boys,'" said the cheerleader's mother. "All campus police, the man who was in charge of the dorms, they all knew Andre."
Online, the 40-year-old McGee called himself the "assistant cheer coach" and "#1 recruiter" at Navarro College. His Twitter profile proudly proclaimed he was "best friends with" and "right hand" to head cheer coach Monica Aldama. In several social media posts, McGee refers to himself as a "tough big" who is "proud of his littles."
The alleged victim said the pictures don't tell the whole story. In his civil lawsuit against McGee and Navarro College, he said McGee would "slap and hit male cheerleaders" and make them "drop their pants at his command." He claimed McGee had hundreds of nude photographs of the cheerleaders and would force the rookies to "drink and/or consume drugs," calling it "big girl games."
According to the suit, in October 2015 McGee forced the alleged victim to take Xanax. He said he later "awoke to McGee sodomizing him." He said he stayed quiet about the alleged assault because he still dreamed of winning a championship. But three months later he called police.
CBS DFW obtained the police report, which shows a second cheerleader making similar claims. That cheerleader did not want to talk on the record for this story, but attorneys for the first cheerleader believe others will come forward.
"We have spoken to other victims in this case," said Lacey Turley Most. "And we've heard from other cheerleaders that there were other victims."
The cheerleader said he also reported the assault to Navarro College and Monica Aldama. That's when he learned McGee did not work for the school.
"We were totally under the impression that he was the assistant coach," said the cheerleader's mother. A Navarro College spokesperson later told CBS DFW "McGee was allowed to volunteer with the Navarro Cheer program," adding that once the school learned of the allegation, "the college notified him that he could no longer volunteer." You can read Navarro's full statements below.
The alleged victim and his family said there was no indication that McGee was only a volunteer.
"The boys had to answer to him 24/7," said the cheerleader's mother. "He had to have their schedule, so he knew exactly what classes they were in, when."
Navarro County indicted McGee on a charge of sexual assault in March 2017, but for the next ten months the case stalled. That's why the mom says she reached out to the I-Team. "It's taken way too long," she said, saying her son "feels like he's less important because he's a boy."
We contacted the district attorney's office to ask why all of McGee's court hearings had been cancelled. The DA, Lowell Thompson, said they were waiting for McGee to be released from the Freestone County jail on another charge. But when the I-Team called the jail, we were told there was no other charge, and McGee had never been behind bars.
We found McGee substitute teaching at Fairfield ISD. Two days after we relayed that information to Thompson, police arrested McGee. Thompson later told the I-Team he had been given "bad information" about McGee's whereabouts.
McGee made his first court appearance in December. He, his mother and his pastor all took the stand. His mother told the judge McGee had "been around kids his whole life," while his pastor said he "worked with the choir … and Sunday school classes." All of them denied the allegations.
While the criminal case is moving forward, the cheerleader's family is also pursuing a civil lawsuit against McGee and Navarro College. Head coach Monica Aldama is not a defendant, but she is repeatedly named as part of the suit. She declined to be interviewed for this story but sent CBS DFW a statement.
"I have never and would never tolerate sexual harassment or sexual abuse in the Navarro College cheer program," the statement reads in part. "I would not remain silent if I were aware that any sexual misconduct were occurring in the cheer program. In addition, I do not accept or condone unlawful drug and alcohol use by Navarro cheer team members. Andre McGee volunteered as a helper for the cheer team. He was never an assistant coach and never had authority over the team or cheer team members. The cheerleader who has accused Mr. McGee … never made any complaint to me. Once I learned of the allegations against Mr. McGee, I ensured that he had no further contact with the Navarro College cheer team."
The I-Team also reached out to more than 30 current and former Navarro College cheerleaders. Seven supported McGee and said they had never witnessed any inappropriate behavior. Two back up the cheerleader's claims of hazing and sexually inappropriate behavior. The rest did not respond to the I-Team's questions.
Cindy said her son is still dealing with the fallout of the alleged assault.
"The fear of that man … and what has happened to him has just crushed him on an emotional level that none of us can understand."
The cheerleader said the lawsuit is about helping others. "I just don't want it to happen to anyone else."
Navarro College's first statement:
"Andre McGee attended Navarro College as a student from 1995 until 2000 and participated in the College's cheerleading program. From November 2003 through June 2004, Navarro College employed Mr. McGee as a Resident Advisor ("RA"). This was the only time Navarro College employed Mr. McGee. Navarro College never employed Mr. McGee in its cheerleading program and never employed Mr. McGee as an Assistant Coach. Mr. McGee was not affiliated with Navarro College in any way at the time of the arrest referenced in your email.
The safety and welfare of students is of utmost priority to Navarro College. The College prohibits sexual misconduct, including any acts of a sexual nature against an individual without consent. Navarro College has strong policies and procedures for reporting, investigating, and responding to all allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Navarro College remains committed to the prevention and detection of sexual harassment and abuse. Upon receipt of a report regarding sexual misconduct, Navarro College investigates the matter and acts swiftly to provide an appropriate response."
Navarro College's second statement:
"As previously stated, Andre McGee was not a Navarro College employee. It is the College's understanding that Mr. McGee was allowed to volunteer with the Navarro Cheer program. The College did not compensate Mr. McGee for any time he volunteered. Once Navarro College was made aware of any allegation of misconduct by Mr. McGee, the College notified him that he could no longer volunteer for Navarro Cheer.
This matter is the subject of a currently pending lawsuit. Navarro College does not comment on pending litigation. Navarro College denies any and all wrongdoing with respect to the allegations against Mr. McGee. Any further statement by the College will be made by the College's attorneys in the lawsuit."
Monica Aldama's full statement:
"I am astounded and disheartened by the claims made about me. These allegations are absolutely false. I care deeply for the safety and wellbeing of each and every Navarro College cheerleader with whom I have worked over the years. I am extremely proud of all that our team has achieved.
I have never and would never tolerate sexual harassment or sexual abuse in the Navarro College cheer program. I would not remain silent if I were aware that any sexual misconduct were occurring in the cheer program. In addition, I do not accept or condone unlawful drug and alcohol use by Navarro cheer team members. As cheer team members know, I have a zero tolerance policy toward unlawful drug and alcohol use and have disciplined students for violating that policy.
Andre McGee volunteered as a helper for the cheer team. He was never an assistant coach and never had authority over the team or cheer team members. The cheerleader who has accused Mr. McGee of sexual assault never told me that he encountered any sexual harassment or sexual abuse while a student at Navarro College. He never made any complaint to me about Mr. McGee. When Navarro College became aware of the cheerleader's allegations, it prohibited Mr. McGee from volunteering for the cheer team. Once I learned of the allegations against Mr. McGee, I ensured that he had no further contact with the Navarro College cheer team."
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