A high school cheerleading coach has been fired over a gut-wrenching video that showed him forcing a screaming 13-year-old girl into a split.
Ozell Williams has been dismissed from his position at East High School in Denver, schools superintendent Tom Boasberg announced Friday.
“I have watched all of the videos,” he said. “As a superintendent, and as a father, and as an athlete, they are deeply disturbing. What happened was wrong."
Videos that surfaced last week show eight cheerleaders being pushed into the gymnastic position while their arms and legs are grabbed by teammates.
Williams is seen in some of the footage with his knee pressing into a girl’s back.
Broasberg said administrators had seen at least one video in June, but police weren’t notified. The superintendent said he didn’t learn about the images until last week.
Williams told The Denver Post his actions had been taken out of context.
"You can definitely say that what was in the video could be seen in a different light," he told the newspaper. "I would love to tell my story, but I can't say anything else at this time."
He was terminated last year as a contract employee with Boulder High School after he was seen forcing a cheerleader into splits during a four-day camp, a district spokesman said last week.
In one video, 13-year-old Ally Wakefield begs “Please stop!” as Williams forces her into the extreme position.
The girl suffered a torn hamstring and torn tendons, her mother said, and is currently in physical therapy.