Cheerleader Denies Sex Charges

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders, Renee Thomas, left, and Angela Keathley, shown in these Hillsborough County, Fla., Sheriff's Office booking photos, were arrested early Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005 after a bar dispute that broke out after patrons complained the women were allegedly having sex in a bathroom stall.
An ex-Carolina Panthers cheerleader charged with giving police a false name during her arrest at a bar has denied accounts that she was having sex with another cheerleader in a restroom stall.

Renee Thomas, 20, also accused of hitting a bar patron, is charged with giving a false name and causing harm to another, a third-degree felony punishable by probation or a jail term of up to five years. The second cheerleader, Angela Keathley, 26, is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

The two members of the Panthers TopCats were arrested early Sunday at a bar in Tampa, Fla., hours before Carolina played Tampa Bay. Some witnesses told police the two angered patrons waiting in a restroom line by having sex in a stall.

Another witness discounted the sex story, telling The Tampa Tribune that Thomas was drunk.

In a written statement, Thomas' attorney said his client wanted to apologize "to everyone affected by the incident."

"This was an unfortunate incident which has generated numerous rumors and inaccurate facts," attorney Peter Anderson wrote. "Miss Thomas denies all allegations of any sexual conduct."

The statement did not specifically address the criminal charges, but said Thomas is cooperating with authorities in Florida. Anderson declined to make any additional comment when reached by telephone Wednesday.

Repeated attempts to reach the women have been unsuccessful.

Thomas was released before police learned she had given them a driver's license belonging to another Panthers cheerleader, who was not in Tampa. Detectives are trying to determine how Thomas got the license.

Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said Tuesday the allegations of sexual conduct "have nothing to do with the charges," McElroy said.

"The charge is that she (Thomas) punched someone in the face and then she chose to give police a fake ID," McElroy said.

The cheerleaders were not in town to perform at the game, and the team said both were fired from the TopCats squad for violating a signed code that bans conduct embarrassing to the Panthers.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for