Coach in viral forced splits video won’t be charged

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DENVER, Co. — The cheer leading coach caught on camera forcing students into splits as they cried out in pain will not be charged, a Denver district attorney says.

Beth McCann told CBS News her office looked into the incident and discovered there were many different accounts of what happened that day. McCann also stated opinions on the training technique known as “power stretching” vary.

In August, Ally Wakefield took videos of herself and other girls at her Denver high school being forced into splits. The video shows girls yelling in pain as their cheer coach, Ozell Williams, continues to push on them.

“He told us it was normal so I just figured, so be it,” Wakefield told KDVR.

VIDEO: Denver high school cheerleaders held down, forced into splits

After practice, Wakefield showed her mom Kirsten Wakefield the videos. Her mom was horrified and contacted school administrators repeatedly, starting in June.

Cheerleaders met with Denver police investigators and medical examiners  to review the incident and document any physical and mental trauma. At the time, police said they were investigating this as possible child abuse.

Kirsten Wakefield said investigators told her during one meeting, they were shocked school administrators knew about this in June and did not contact police immediately.

While no criminal charges will be filed, McCann stated Williams should not be allowed to coach in high school athletics again.

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

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