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Woman sues ex-Panthers cheerleader

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2005) -- A woman sued a former Carolina Panthers cheerleader, contending she was punched at a bar and seeking more than $15,000 for her injuries.

Melissa Holden of Tampa filed the lawsuit. It said Victoria Renee Thomas "intentionally, willfully and maliciously assaulted and battered" her.

"I've been humiliated," said Holden, a 26-year-old University of South Florida student and nurse. "People assume I have a boyfriend or a husband who beat me up."

Thomas' attorney, William Bunting Jr., declined to comment because neither he nor Thomas had seen the lawsuit. He did not return a phone message left at his office Saturday.

Holden was waiting in line in the bathroom of a Tampa bar Nov. 6 when Thomas punched her, police said. Thomas and another cheerleader, Angela Keathley, had emerged from a stall after other patrons yelled at them, police said.

Thomas, 20, of Pittsboro, N.C., faces a battery charge and two other charges of using a false name. Angela Keathley, 26, of Belmont, N.C., faces charges of obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct.

Some witnesses said Thomas and Keathley were having sex in the stall, but Thomas later denied that. She and Keathley have since been fired from

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