Child sexual abuse became a personal focus for Kristen in 2020 when she discovered that her twin sons had been abused during their participation in the sport of all-star cheerleading. Never one to shy away from a fight and urgently concerned about the safety of other athletes, Kristen and her sons did what no one had dared to do to that point and publicly called out her sons’ charismatic celebrity perpetrator and filed civil suit against the powerful organizations that created the culture that made her sons’ abuse possible. With the help of their civil legal team and investigative reporters from USA Today, Kristen and her sons shined a bright light on a culture of tolerance of sexual abuse, as well as critical gaps in policy and enforcement, in the sport. Kristen’s sons’ story was featured in a multi-part USA Today investigative series, an Emmy-nominated segment of HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and the number #1 show on Netflix (CHEER season 2, episode 5). This coverage brought the topic of sexual abuse in cheerleading to the forefront, paved the way for other athletes to report their own abuse, and galvanized parents and other members of the community to demand transparency, accountability, and substantive change from the entities that control this multi-billion-dollar sport.
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