Cheerleader Kicked Off Squad for Refusing to Cheer for Rapist

Imagine having to go to school every day with the man who raped you.

Imagine that your rapist is also a popular football and basketball star and you’re a cheerleader.

Would you want to cheer for the man who raped you?

I wouldn’t and a 16-year-old in Texas didn’t want to either so she kept quiet. The result: she was kicked off her school’s cheerleading squad. 

Fair? I certainly think not.

The student, only identified as H.S., from Silsbee High School sued the school for their actions but an appeals court dismissed the case earlier this month stating that “In her capacity as a cheerleader [she] served as a mouthpiece through which the school could disseminate speech – namely, support for its athletic teams.”

Not cheering for one player on the team meant that H.S. was not being supportive of the whole team and didn’t have the right to be on the squad.  Her rapist however not only avoided his one year prison sentence by pleading guilty to a lesser charge, but was allowed to return to school and invited back on the varsity basketball team.

H.S., on the other hand, was asked to keep a “low profile” at school , avoid the cafeteria, and not take part in school activities like homecoming.

Now, I have to ask: Why is the victim in this situation being restricted, yet her rapist is being welcomed back with a cheering sideline?   

If you think about it this story really isn’t new. Around the world women who are raped carry the shame of their sexual assaults while the men who rape them negotiate lesser sentences and are welcomed back to their communities. 

If you ask me, officials at Silsbee High School should be less worried about cheering sidelines and more worried about supporting their students who have been sexually assaulted.

Photo used under a Creative Commons license by SD Dirk.

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

I know women who practically threw themselves out there (one is a family member), never filed a complaint and then years later, when the guy was accused of another "crime", they came out & said, "Yeah, same thing happened to me". It doesn't excuse the guy who "did it", no matter what UNLESS, and I'm emphasizing that word, the "victim" absolutely and clearly DID say "No" and was able to do so. I read about one case where the victim had been drugged so she was physically unable to resist, couldn't speak, but was awake! To me, thats first degree rape, even if the woman wasn't beat to HELL and never said "NO"!

I just think everybody dropped the ball with this girl. I can only imagine not only seeing my attacker in school every day, but having to CHEER for him in public! The school should have just kept him off the team until all charges and investigations were complete.

Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

I quite agree, Lindsey. Many women have remorse later and feel guilt, or whatever. To me, that's a lot different than being grabbed at night from behind while walking down a street! It's also different from going to a party and being dragged into a room and having the door shut & locked. Maybe she went into the room willingly, who knows? Seems if the boys went out the window and one left his jocks behind, they were in one HELL of a hurry to get out of there.

This is all in the past, and laws also vary from one state to another. If you "Google" the difference between "rape" and "sexual assault", it differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and seems it also matters if the victim was female or not. The penalties are different, so sometimes they "plead down" from rape to sexual assault to get a guilty plea, since the "perp" is more likely to admit guilt and do 6 months community service or a year in prison vs. 25 years and having to register as a "sex offender".

Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago

I went with all the stories the local newspaper printed and archived, Diane. They reported on it from the beginning and gave the timeline.

I also feel sorry for the girl. Since the boy admitted his guilt eventually he was obviously guilty and she had to have had a very rough time of it.

Unfortunately a great many people (and I'm not including you in that group) seem to feel that once a male is accused of rape he's automatically guilty and should be treated as such from the start. When obviously he, like anyone else, is innocent until proven guilty in court (or pleads guilty).

Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

Whoops, "typo".........meant to say, off the TEAM at the time.

Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

So, according to those times, she was justified, in my opinion. She made the accusation in 2008, and the playoff game was in Jan. of 2009. The fact that the first indictment didn't call for Bolton to be kept off the time is not the point. He SHOULD have been. Sexual assault and 1st degree RAPE are not the same thing, and I'd be the first to agree, but there seemed to be enough evidence (including the underwear left in the locked room and the fact all three boys went out a window to avoid detection) to back up the fact she wasn't a willing participant.

Lindsey, I went back & read very old comments, which is why I "Googled" this to find out what eventually resulted. I read Bill C's post, and he always is level-headed and makes sense. I didn't want to jump to conclusions, either, nor just get on the bandwagon. I'm never one to support the woman "no matter what", but just refusing to call out this kid's name (to SUPPORT HIM by cheering for HIM, alone) is far different than cutting his balls off and throwing him in jail for the rest of his life. Maybe she should have called in "sick" that night and not participated in the cheering squad entirely, but it appears she was cheering with the squad for the team, just refused to do so for that one boy ALONE.

The end of the article you just posted is different than 4 others I read when I "Googled" this, but again, I think the entire thing stinks.

Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago

October 2008 - the cheerleader said she was sexually assaulted.

Three arrests were made over the next couple of days.

The three boys were not allowed in the school after the arrests and were sent to an 'alternative school'.

In January 2009, the grand jury failed to indict the boys, citing lack of evidence, and they were then allowed to return to the regular school and Bolton (having not been indicted) was allowed back on the team.

During a playoff game, the cheerleader refused to cheer for Bolton during a free throw and sat down with her back to the court and she was eventually removed from the cheer team.

In November 2009 a new grand jury returned an indictment against Bolton and one other boy for sexual assault on a child.

Bolton was a senior in 2009 and isn't at the school any longer (I couldn't find any mention of the date he left the school).

In September 2010, Bolton pled guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault and the deal was reportedly signed off on by the cheerleader's family and the cheerleader's wishes were taken into account in the plea agreement and sentencing.

Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

I read several articles to try to get the actual facts, Lindsey, since I found several that said she'd gone to the State Supreme Court and was not only turned away, but her parents given a bill for the $24,000 in court costs. Every website had the same information about the chain of events, actually, so not living in Texas, that's all I can go by. What I did notice as far as a discrepancy was one said the boy was a star basketball player, and another said he was on the football team.

It really matters not what the sport was, nor the fact that she refused to call out his name before or AFTER he was charged. What matters is that she didn't disrupt anything by simply not calling out his name, and throwing her off the cheerleading squad was unjustified. It doesn't matter when he was indicted, as he was accused the night of the incident. He should have been charged immediately thereafter, since names were provided (according to all of the news articles, anyway). Seems the school had a big game coming up?

Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago

Diane, unfortunately the article you found gives a very mistaken impression of the chain of events. It makes it sound as though after the boy pled guilty he was allowed back in school and on the team and the girl was then forced to cheer for him. But that isn't the chain of events.

At the time of the cheering incident, he was not even under indictment, let alone having pled guilty. Which is why the school let him back in. He didn't plead guilty until the fall of 2010.

Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

I was curious so "Googled" this to get an update...............

Sarah M.
Sarah M.4 years ago

this is ridiculous! and seriously, who the heck would think she was treated fairly?! Shame on those who do.