Cheerleader avoids jail in barroom brawl

Updated: March 13, 2006, 5:21 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- A former Carolina Panthers cheerleader avoided jail Monday by pleading no contest to charges stemming from her role in a brawl sparked by accusations that she was having sex with another cheerleader in the bathroom of a bar.

Under the deal with prosecutors, 21-year-old Victoria Renee Thomas pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of battery and unlawful display of a license. And she entered a pretrial intervention program for the one felony charge she faced, giving a false name to an officer.

Thomas was ordered to participate in anger management counseling, perform 50 hours of community service and pay $400 restitution to a woman she punched, who had been waiting to use the bathroom at Banana Joe's in November.

A police report said witnesses reported that Thomas and another member of the TopCats cheerleading squad, 26-year-old Angela Keathley, appeared to be having sex in the bathroom stall before getting in a fight with patrons and getting arrested Nov. 6. They were in town for the Panthers' game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On Monday, Thomas' attorney denied that the cheerleaders were having sex in the stall.

In January, Keathley pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing a police officer. She was also placed in a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders. It includes six months' probation and 32 hours of community service.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press