Champion US baton twirler wins $4.2M verdict after nightmare trip

A national two-time baton-twirling champion won a $4.2 million jury verdict in Brooklyn last week after suing the US Twirling Association for negligence, claiming she’d been drugged and sexually assaulted by a “creepy” local during a 2019 goodwill trip to Peru.

The victim, identified only as Jane Doe, testified during the nearly three-week week trial in Brooklyn Federal Court against the Nassau County-based USTA’s chaperone Koralea Slagle and president Karen Cammer.

The six teenage twirlers were supposed to visit foster homes and grade schools, and take part in a parade but instead, the victim said, they were left with their host, a man named Jacobo who headed the local Lions Club.

Slagle was accused of ignoring a lack of water for her young charges as well as “creepy” overtures from a local host. Instagram @bt.twirler
Koralea Slagle owes $504,000 of a $4.2 million jury verdict after one of the twirlers sued for negilgence. Obtained by The New York Post

Then 17 and originally from Ohio, Doe alleged Slagle turned a blind eye while the teens were kept out til 3 a.m. each night and offered booze, but no water, to drink.

She had told her mother Jacobo was acting “kinda creepy” toward her, adding, “there have been multiple instances where he just wants to take me but I’ve refused,” according to the legal filing.

One night the girl felt sick after being given a “special mojito” — hours later Jacobo used a key to enter her locked room, and sexually assaulted the ill and disoriented girl, she said in court papers.

A criminal investigation was later launched in Peru but its status is unknown.

The jury found Slagle, a Kansas resident, and the USTA negligent, awarding $3 million for past damages and $1.2 million for future pain and suffering, with Slagle personally responsible for $504,000 of the award.

Then USTA president Karen Cammer was not found personally liable by the Brooklyn jury. Facebook ustwirling

“If I stayed silent, the USTA would have never taken accountability for their actions,” the victim, now 22, told The Post. “I have reclaimed my voice by sharing the truth but continue to work towards healing. Athletes are not disposable, and their dignity and safety should never be sacrificed.” 

Doe’s lawyer, Andy Goldwasser, added, “After four and half years our client finally received the vindication and rightful outcome she deserved. Maybe now, the USTA will stop prioritizing power over safety.”

“While USTA is disappointed with the verdict and is evaluating next steps, we respect the process and acknowledge the outcome. It is a serious reminder of our imperative to protect and support every athlete in our organization,” the organization said. “USTA remains fully committed to ensuring a safe and supportive sporting environment for all athletes.”

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