Ex-Coach in ‘Forced Splits’ Case Won’t Face Charges

October 15, 2017 Updated: October 15, 2017    

A former coach in Denver, Colorado, will not be charged after he came under scrutiny for forcing cheerleaders to do painful splits during practice.

District Attorney Beth McCann said her office reviewed the case’s details, and she’s opted not to press charges against the former coach, Ozell Williams, who was filmed in June ordering girls at the cheerleading camp to do the splits.

She said that there were differing accounts of what actually happened in the video, CBS reported. And opinions differ on the training methods, she said, adding that what they were doing is called “power stretching.”

She added, however, that Williams “should not be a coach in high school sports and he no longer is.”

“The principal and athletic director of the school have retired and resigned,” she said. “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.”

“In order to prove a charge of criminal behavior, the case must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” McCann said, reported the Denver Post. And “the bad judgment of the coach … does not constitute a prosecutable crime,” she continued.

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg issued a statement on the matter.

“Our top priority has been, and will continue to be, the safety and well-being of our students,” he said in a statement to the Denver Post. “In support of this, and to allow our students to continue healing, we would ask news media to refrain from showing videos of the ‘forced splits’ in covering this issue.”

Williams, who runs Mile High Tumblers, was also passed over for a gym job in Brighton, Colo., KUSA reported.

“They would go to do things and if they would stop, like they would go into a tumbling pass and they would stop, and he would be like, ‘I’m going to punch you in the face if you don’t do it next time,’” said Julie Ledbetter, the owner of the gym. “… You don’t tell kids you’re going to punch them in the face if they can’t pull the skill.”