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Mom charged after fight with cheer coach

POSTED: August 26, 2008 5:01 a.m.
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Michelle Rain

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A Forsyth County cheerleader’s mom is going to court over a dispute with a local youth cheer association president that reportedly got a little bit rowdy.

Michelle Rains, 39, of Suwanee was arrested Aug. 15 and charged with simple battery after she allegedly struck Nancy Cunningham, president of cheerleading for the Sharon Springs Youth Football Association, during a cheer clinic.

Rains was released later that day from the Forsyth County Detention Center after posting $605 bond, a jail official said.

According to a Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office report, the altercation occurred Aug. 1 in the gym at West Forsyth High School. Cunningham, 40, reported the incident at that time and told the investigating deputy that Rains had punched her in the chin.

Rains, the report said, was demanding that her daughter be placed on another squad. Cunningham told her that would not be possible.

According to the report, Rains yelled, "This is not over." After hitting her, the report said Rain then taunted Cunningham saying, "Oh, did it hurt?"

Rains’ attorney, John Valente, said Thursday the report is inaccurate.

He said Cunningham grabbed Rains by the arm and that Rains didn’t punch Cunningham. Instead, he said, she used two fingers and "like you’d flick a cigarette away, she kind of did that underneath Mrs. Cunningham’s chin."

He said Rains wasn’t there when Cunningham filed the report.

"My client had already left with her child and wasn’t involved, and there were some comments that were picked up and (Cunningham) said she had been punched, which wasn’t true," he said.

"It’s all kind of silliness, but nowadays with the Internet and the media frenzy that came out of it, it’s been pretty hard on her," he said.

Both women have received letters of warning from the Forsyth County Youth Football Association after the group investigated the incident, Valente said. The association found that the women had acted inappropriately and it has zero tolerance for that kind of behavior.

"If any of this ever comes up again, there are severe consequences," he said.

Valente said Rains has filed for a warrant for simple batter against Cunningham in Forsyth County
Magistrate Court. A hearing on the warrant, which she sought about two days after the incident, is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Cunningham could not be reached for comment.

Valente said he thought she had hired an attorney, but did not have that person’s name.

Valente said Rains previously had tried to have her daughter, who he said is 8 or 9 years old, moved to a squad with girls she knew and who were the same age.

The association e-mailed Rains while she was on vacation, explaining what she had to do to have her daughter moved. But, Valente said, it went into her spam file and she never saw it.



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