DENVER - Update 10/16 3:35 p.m.: No charges will be filed in the investigation into whether a cheerleading coach went too far in training the team.
District Attorney Beth McCann said that there was not enough evidence to file charges after police investigated video that showed the coach pushing the cheerleaders into splits, The Associated Press reported.
Ozell Williams was the coach at the time. Williams was fired after the videos went viral. A principal at East High School retired and an athletic director stepped down, The AP reported.
McCann said the techniques Williams used “had no place in high school cheerleading coaching,” but added that what the coach did was a prosecutable crime, The AP reported.
Original story: Disturbing videos have come to light that show cheerleaders forced into splits. The videos now have police investigating just what happened and has left coaches, principals and the school district’s deputy counsel placed on leave.
KUSA reported that during the first week of East High School’s cheerleader camp, members of the team were forced into an extended split. The videos show the cheerleaders being pushed down into position, their arms being held by teammates.
Ally Wakefield, one of the girls who said she was forced into the position was not able to get up out of the split on her own, she told KUSA.
The girls were pushed down on their shoulders by Ozell Williams, the team’s coach.
This is Williams’s first year at the school, but he has since been placed on leave.
The videos came to light after members anonymously sent the files to KUSA’s 9 Wants to Know earlier this month. The television station has received multiple videos, showing other girls, but it has not released the others. It is only showing videos of those students who have agreed to interviews and were accompanied by their parents.
Parents have been complaining to the school administrators and the coach about the cheerleading program. In light of the videos, Denver police have started an investigation.
The school district released a statement to KUSA concerning the investigation, writing that “In order to conduct a fair and thorough investigation, we have placed East Principal Andy Mendelsberg, East Assistant Principal Lisa Porter, East Cheer Coach Ozell Williams, East Assistant Cheer Coach Mariah Cladis and DPS Deputy General Counsel Michael Hickman on leave. This is standard practice in an investigation of this type. It does not imply or prejudge in any way the actions of the individuals or what the investigation might determine.”
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