The first known victim of Cheer Athletics coach Jason McCartney has filed a lawsuit alleging that his “penetrative and severe abuse continued for years” even after McCartney reached adulthood and she was still a prepubescent child.
Carrie Methvin was a young child playing with a doctor’s kit at the McCartney family’s house when McCartney, a former family friend who was nine years her senior, pulled down his pants and asked her to put a toy syringe in his butt and his penis in her mouth, according to early memories detailed in a copy of the complaint.
“McCartney’s abuse of Methvin escalated from there,” the lawsuit states, alleging that McCartney would put his hands and mouth on Methvin’s crotch, while also having her touch his genitals. The abuse, often at his parents’ home in Texas, started when they were both minors and became more frequent as he grew older, the suit alleges.
According to Methvin’s lawyer, Michelle Simpson Tuegel, Methvin made attempts to tell McCartney’s mom, Bonnie, about the abuse. She “did nothing to stop the abuse or report it, enabling McCartney’s twisted, deranged, and illegal behavior,” the lawsuit states.
“It demonstrates a very early pattern of abuse of young girls by McCartney that adults we’re aware of,” Tuegel told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “In this situation it's his mother and him who we’re seeking to hold responsible but in later years, it's Cheer Athletics and the US All Stars Federation organization that had the ability to put a stop to it and didn’t.”
Methvin is the fifth known accuser to file a lawsuit against McCartney for alleged sexual abuse. Cheer Athletics, the top cheer organization where some of the abuse allegedly occurred, has come under fire for its role in failing to address reports of sexual abuse by its athletes.
McCartney used cheerleading to conceal his abuse, according to Methvin’s complaint, which describes his “unfettered access to young children over the course of the past two decades” while working in cheerleading gyms across Texas.
Accusing McCartney of sexual assault and battery, her lawyers allege that in addition to their contact at his parents’ home, McCartney also helped Methvin with cheerleading.
“Under the guise” of helping Methvin practice her cheerleading and gymnastics skills, McCartney would slide his hand along her thigh up her thigh, run his hands along her buttocks. While practicing lifts, McCartney would slide his fingers inside Methvin’s genitals, the lawsuit states.
Tuegel has provided legal counsel to survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse including Olympic gymnast Tasha Schwikert, she told The Daily Beast.
She is also representing a pair of unidentified women and the influencer cheer twins Hannah and Jessica Gerlacher who have accused McCartney of abuse. The twins allege it began when they were just 15 at a Cheer Athletics gym in Texas.
According to the lawsuit, McCartney’s mom acknowledged via text that she believed Methvin and believed that the abuse occurred—a text message string that will be introduced as evidence as the case progresses, Tuegel said.
McCartney became co-owner at Cheer Athletics’ Austin gym, and was working there when the Gerlachers filed their lawsuit last July.
In a since-deleted Instagram post in the wake of the Gerlachers’ lawsuit, Cheer Athletics appeared to defend McCartney saying they had determined that his “interactions with the Gerlachers were limited to team practices and optional tumbling lessons during which time they would have always been in plainview of dozens - if not hundreds - of athletes, coaches and parents. Mr. McCartney adamantly denies any wrongdoing of a sexual nature of otherwise in his dealings with the Gerlachers.”
Cheer Athletics later apologized for the post, saying they had “rushed to respond” and would be partnering with an outside company to provide another route for members to report misconduct while seeking comprehensive training for coaches, athletes, partners and vendors.
In an email to The Daily Beast on Thursday about the fresh allegations and the status of McCartney’s employment, Cheer Athletics Austin said that it had suspended McCartney “immediately upon receipt of the initial lawsuit in 2021.”
“He has not had access to the facility or our athletes since, and we continue to work diligently with law enforcement,” Cheer Athletics Austin wrote.
Now in her 30s, Methvin said she had largely shielded her trauma from public view, revealing only to McCartney’s mom and her own family what happened to her. She said she was emboldened to come forward after reading about the Gerlachers’ experience.
“It is incredibly difficult to come forward against people who were like family to me, but I can no longer remain silent when I have two daughters looking up to me and other survivors abused by the same person fighting for justice,” Methvin said in a statement. “My hope is that through this lawsuit, he is removed from any position in which he has access to minors, and he is brought to justice along with every adult who knew about it and failed to act on our behalf.”
In addition to the lawsuit, Methvin also filed a report with Texas City Police. She is seeking $1 million in monetary relief.
Tuegel said she believes that if Cheer Athletics had “done their due diligence” and had policies in place aimed at protecting children then McCartney’s alleged abuse could have been prevented.
“I still don’ t think that it is,” she said.
In an email Thursday, US All Stars Federation declined to comment “on matters under litigation,” instead referring The Daily Beast to a statement that went out to its members a month after the Gerlachers’ lawsuit landed about its emphasis on safety.