By Kirk Laughlin
University of Louisville cheerleader Rebecca Manns left the cheerleading squad following a much publicized Internet release of indecent photographs of her in early January.
The story broke just after the Orange Bowl and quickly erupted across the Internet, entering the top-ten in Google hits in the first week of January, according to Google’s records of top search results.
Blogs at universities from Florida State University to University of Michigan to Louisiana State University had discussion boards mentioning the U of L cheerleader.
U of L cheerleading coach Todd Sharp said the incident was “incredibly sad” and was “unintentional.” He went on to say that Manns had been “victimized and has suffered greatly from this personal tragedy.”
Sharp also said that the photos, taken completely separate of the cheerleading squad, were pieced together on the Internet alongside photos of her in uniform on the Internet sites. “They had nothing to do with each other and this is not a positive thing for U of L cheerleading or for a young woman’s life,” Sharp said.
According to the cheerleading office, the photographs were taken by Manns and her boyfriend, and Manns later said that the memory card in the camera was stolen and the photographs were plastered across the Internet.
“It is sad what has happened to her across the Internet, but she should have expected it,” said junior John Waits.
Waits, a history major, went on to say that Manns “lost everything she had and gained nothing but a bad reputation” for these photographs.
Sharp said that there are many Web sites and blogs online that have posted the photos and given a “poor reputation” to U of L.
Freshman Sara Beck said, “It is ridiculous that she has paid so much for these photos. A personal decision should not result in this kind of horrible response nationwide.”
Junior Anthony Cash said, “Individuals make decisions and choices and they should be prepared to accept the societal consequences of those choices, be they right or wrong. That is part of making informed, adult decisions.”
Cash, a political science, major, went on to say, “It is a shame that this young woman has suffered the ill effects of a bad decision and it speaks volumes about the moral decay of our society.”
Manns plans to file charges against those responsible for the seizing and distribution of the photographs, according to the cheerleading squad and multiple Internet sites.
There are unconfirmed reports that her boyfriend is the one responsible for the posting of the photographs online.
She has also voluntarily left the university and returned to her home state of Virginia.