Ozell Williams, the former Colorado cheerleading coach who was caught on video forcing young girls to do painful splits until they screamed, will not face any criminal charges, CBS News is reporting.
News of Williams’ controversial coaching methods went viral in August, when video of the controversial training session, purportedly taken at a cheerleading camp in June, appeared on social media. Ozell could be seen forcing as many as eight young girls into doing splits, even as they screamed in agony and begged him to stop.
One young lady, Ally Wakefield, suffered injuries to her leg and groin muscles and was ordered by her doctor to take it easy, as CNN reported at the time.
According to an August New York Post report, upset parents went to officials at East High School in Denver, where Williams was employed, to discuss things. At the time, according to the report, the parents say they were led to believe that Williams would be fired at that time. He was not.
Instead, Williams was fired in August, after the videos of the incident had gone viral.
Williams, who had been fired from a different school for the same coaching practice, insisted that the controversial training method was a legitimate and much-used technique. Further, he said that the video was taken out of context.
While Williams did lose his job over the incident, he will not be facing any criminal charges.
— Juan M Salgado (@Mao527) August 29, 2017
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced this weekend that, while Williams’ actions are reprehensible, there will be no criminal charges.
Specifically, she noted two important points. First, although cell phone footage appeared to show Williams essentially torturing the young women, there have been differing accounts of what actually happened that day. Second, she notes that, in the cheerleading and athletic training industry, there are differences of opinion among experts about the legitimacy and usefulness of the training technique in question that day.
In other words, says McCann, although what Williams did that day was reprehensible and has no place in a public school’s athletic program, it wasn’t a criminal act.
“The message should be clear that this type of technique has no place in high school cheerleading coaching. The bad judgment of the coach, however, does not constitute a prosecutable crime.”
Parent Carolyn Fortino, in remarks made available via WOIO (Cleveland), said that expecting criminal charges against Williams was probably a bit ambitious.
“The firing was probably the best that could be done.”
Do you believe that Ozell Williams should face criminal charges for forcing young cheerleaders to perform painful splits? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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