A former cheerleader who sued her school and lost after refusing to cheer for a player she says raped her is being helped by strangers from all over America. The Texas girl and her family were ordered to pay the school almost $40,000 in legal fees after losing their lawsuit over the girl's expulsion from the cheerleading squad. A petition urging the school to waive the fees has gathered nearly 100,000 signatures and an online campaign to help with the legal costs has collected more than $23,000, ABC reports.
The basketball player the girl accused of rape received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to a lesser assault charge. Forcing the teen to pay legal costs is "an awful statement to send on how you treat a teenage sexual assault victim," says the women's rights editor at Change.org, the website hosting the petition. The girl's father says he is humbled by the growing amount of cash in the legal fund, most of which has arrived in donations of under $20. "I will never give up hope that in some form or fashion there will be justice," he tells the AP.