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Cheerleading coach accused of raping a minor at the same gym where hidden cameras were discovered in the girls locker room

James Henry So (Franklin Police Dept.) and Premiere Athletics (YouTube screenshot)

James Henry So (Franklin Police Dept.) and Premiere Athletics (YouTube screenshot)

A 27-year-old cheer coach in Tennessee has been arrested for allegedly raping a female minor at a popular cheerleading training facility.

James Henry So was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with one count of aggravated rape, four counts of statutory rape, three counts of rape, and two counts of sexual battery, court documents reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a press release from the Franklin Police Department, a Williamson County grand jury last week returned a true bill indicting So on the aforementioned charges, all of which stem from an incident involving a 17-year-old girl earlier this year.

“All of the charges were against one victim, a 17-year-old female, and occurred during a single encounter. It happened inside Premier Athletics, on Gothic Court,” FPD said in the release. “An investigation was initiated after the incident was reported in March. Results from that investigation, including an exhaustive review of evidence in the case, were presented to a Williamson County Grand Jury, who returned the charges police arrested So for, last night.”

The alleged rape took place on about Feb. 25, 2023, prosecutors wrote in the indictment.

The indictment states that the sexual battery charges against So stem from him “unlawfully, knowingly, and feloniously” engaging in “sexual contact with a minor child” at a time when So “knew or had reason to know at the time of said contact that the minor child did not consent.”

Prosecutors further alleged that So did “sexually penetrate” the victim who “did not consent,” and in doing so “did cause bodily injury to the minor child,” according to the aggravated rape charge.

In a statement provided to Nashville, Tennessee NBC affiliate WSMV-TV, Kim Brubeck, the compliance administrator for Premiere Athletics Nashville said that when the company learned about the alleged incident in March 2023, they immediately removed So from his coaching position and reported the allegations to the Franklin Police Department.

“Mr. So has not been in any of our facilities since his removal,” Brubeck wrote in the statement. “Premier Athletics Nashville will continue to work with the Franklin Police Department and stands by all survivors.”

Police said that investigators looking into the allegations “do not currently think there are other victims,” but said that anyone with any information relevant to the case should call authorities at 615-794-2513.

So is currently being held in the Williamson County Jail on bond of $300,000. He is scheduled to appear in court for his arraignment on July 26.

According to the report from WSMV, this is not the first time Premiere Athletics has been the associated with felony criminal activity. Hidden cameras were reportedly found stashed throughout the women’s restroom and changing areas in 2021. The digital cameras contained about 60 videos of “mostly minor” females in various stages of undress, WSMV reported.

Premiere Athletics reportedly told the station that So was not associated with the hidden camera incident. The facility further stated that the person who placed the hidden cameras in the locker room was a coach who had since been fired.

That former coach was Andrew Halford, who last year pleaded guilty to multiple charges of attempted especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor in connection with the cameras and was sentenced to 24 years in prison, Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN-TV reported.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.