Cheerleader's sex discrimination suit going to trial

Updated: April 10, 2006, 10:31 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- A sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by the former captain of the New York Rangers' cheerleading squad can go to trial, a judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet said the lawsuit by Courtney Prince alleged comments and conduct that are "insulting, demeaning and objectifying and could be considered severe by a reasonable employee."

Prince said in the lawsuit, brought two years ago, that she was fired by Madison Square Garden after she warned fellow cheerleaders that at least one member of management was a sexual predator.

She said the New York Rangers City Skaters cheerleading squad had been warned not to fraternize with hockey players, but was allowed to mix with staff at the Garden.

The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, said MSG managers and supervisors took some of the dozen cheerleaders to bars and restaurants and bought alcohol for some underage cheerleaders.

Prince said she was harassed by a member of management at a bar following a postgame party on Dec. 22, 2003. She said in the lawsuit that he tried to stick his tongue down her throat and asked her to have sex with him.

She said she was fired in January 2004 after she was accused of "disparaging" members of management by calling them sexual predators.

Prince claimed two Garden executives made unwelcome sexual advances, made disparaging remarks about the sexual morals of a fellow skater and initiated conversations with her and others about their sex lives. She said Garden executives required the cheerleaders to stuff their bras and be sexually alluring.

A telephone message left with a lawyer for MSG was not immediately returned Monday. But MSG, which tried to block the lawsuit, has said it believed "the allegations are unfounded."

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommended in August that MSG have its employees undergo sexual harassment discrimination training and pay Prince $800,000 in damages.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press