School district paid nearly $10,000 to cheer coach shown forcing splits in video

BOULDER - Ozell Williams – the cheerleading coach at the center of a firestorm over videos showing him physically forcing girls to do the splits – worked more extensively with students at Boulder High School than had previously been acknowledged.

Williams was let go as a cheerleading consultant after a coach at Boulder High saw him force a girl to do the splits during a week-long camp in June 2016.

Documents provided Friday to 9Wants to Know in response to a Colorado Open Records Act request show that the district made at least six payments to Williams totaling $9,270 between September 2015 and June 2016.

In each case, Williams billed the school for work under the name of his business, Mile High Tumblers 5280.

Invoices provided to 9NEWS showed that Williams billed the school for choreography, tumbling and that week-long camp, held June 12-17, 2016.

Williams was paid $6,250 for that camp, based on a rate of $250 for each of the 25 students who attended.

During that camp, a parent raised concerns that Williams was forcing girls to do the splits. After one of the school’s cheerleading coaches saw him do it the next day, Williams was terminated as a consultant.

Earlier, district officials had not detailed the breadth of Williams work during his time as a consultant at the school during the 2015-16 school year.

The records released Friday show that for much of that school year he worked with students on a weekly basis.

No concerns about his work were raised until that summer camp, Randy Barber, a spokesman for the district, said Friday.

Williams was fired from his job as a coach at Denver East on Aug. 25 after 9NEWS obtained eight videos, captured earlier this summer, that show different East High School cheerleaders pushed into the splits, and sometimes the extended splits, while teammates hold their arms and legs, and the coach holds their shoulders, shoving each girl closer to the ground.

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Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also placed East High Principal Andy Mendelsberg, Athletic Director Lisa Porter, assistant cheer coach Mariah Cladis and the district’s Deputy General Counsel Michael Hickman on leave.

A criminal investigation is being conducted as well, although it is too early to know whether Williams could be charged with a crime.

Contact 9NEWS reporter Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: kevin.vaughan@9news.com or 303-871-1862.
 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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