NJ cheer coach accused of sexually assaulting students; mother charged with witness tampering

Police said they have identified multiple victims associated with Rockstar Cheer of Southampton, where Jonathan Ryker was a coach.

ByMaggie Kent WPVI logo
Thursday, April 6, 2023
NJ cheer coach, mother facing charges in sex assault case
One of the alleged assaults took place in August 2021 while Jonathan Ryker was a coach at Rockstar Cheer in Southhampton, New Jersey.

MEDFORD TWP., New Jersey -- A New Jersey cheerleading coach and his mother are facing charges in connection with the alleged sexual assaults of students he coached.

According to police, 25-year-old Jonathan Ryker, of Hammonton, is charged with sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated criminal sexual contact.

He was arrested on March 30, 2023, and was placed in the Burlington County Jail pending a detention hearing.

One of the alleged incidents took place in August 2021 while Ryker was a coach at Rockstar Cheer in Southhampton, New Jersey.

Court documents allege Ryker sent a "selfie" of himself lying in bed and shirtless allegedly asking sexual favors of a 15-year-old cheerleader via Snapchat.

The victim says he also groped her during practice.

"Through our investigation, we collaborated with other jurisdictions and learned of another victim," said Medford Township Police Chief Arthur Waterman.

Police say a 17-year-old female, who was a gymnast under Ryker's supervision, also came forward to police.

The teen says in February 2021 Ryker picked her up at home and brought her to a hotel room to have sex.

"At one point, he is holding her neck against the bed, and she was pushing him off because she could not breath. She thought to herself that he was going to kill her," according to an affidavit of probable cause.

During a court-authorized intercept recorded phone call on February 2023, detectives allegedly heard Ryker instruct the victim to say "she was 18 years old at the time of the incident and to just leave the first time they had sexual intercourse out."

Ryker was fired from RockStar Cheer in August 2021 when the allegations came to light.

Access Cheer, formerly Rockstar Cheer, issued this statement on the charges:

"We are grateful to the NJ State Police for their commitment to the children of our state and we continue to work with them through this ongoing criminal matter. We stand with all survivors of abuse and will continue to create the safest and most consistent place possible for children to compete in allstar cheerleading."

His mother Angela started a new team in March 2023, Rock Royalty Cheer. On Facebook, she names herself as owner and head coach of the team, which operates out of a gym in Atco.

Twenty-eight days after Rock Royalty was incorporated, Ryker was arrested and charged.

On April 3, 2023, Angela Ryker was booked for criminal attempt to tamper with a witness.

Court documents allege in September 2022, she contacted her son's accuser and told her to take back her claim, allegedly telling a detective she "just wanted the girl to recant what she said and be done with it."

Medford Township police are concerned there may be additional victims out there.

"In any type of investigation like this there is the potential for additional victims and we want to ensure that every victim is accounted for," said Chief Waterman.

Jonathan Ryker was placed on the US All Star Federation ineligible list for athlete protection in September of 2022 when these allegations came to light but managed to work for a cheer competition company until March when charges were filed.

Anyone who may have been a victim, or anyone with additional information about the suspects is asked to call police at 609-859-2282.