Cheerleader forced into splits by coach says she’s being cyberbullied for speaking up

DENVER -- An East High School cheerleader who spoke up about alleged abuse at the hands of her cheer coach said she's being cyberbullied for coming forward.

Ally Wakefield took videos of herself and other girls forced into the 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 said.

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

"These girls are 13 to 17 and this is a crucial developmental stage for them, and what kind of message we are sending if we tell them it is alright for an adult to abuse you while you're screaming 'no, stop,' and not be able to do anything about it or speak up and not have any recourse," Kirtsen Wakefield said.

Cheerleaders met with Denver police investigators and medical examiners Thursday night to review the incident, and document any physical and mental trauma. Police are investigating this as possible child abuse.

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

"I am saddened and disheartened that it came to this point, but at least something is happening. We just want to make sure this man doesn't injury or mentally hurt another child," Kirtsen Wakefield said.

"The world is a scary place and the people you think you can trust, you can't always and that you just have to be conscious of who you are with and just trust your gut feeling," Ally Wakefield said.

Kirsten Wakefield said doctors believe Ally Wakefield tore muscle tissue and might have pulled a hamstring.

Ally Wakefield said since speaking up, she has been cyberbullied online; people have told her to kill herself and tried to discredit her injuries.

Still, Ally Wakefield said she's glad she's speaking up, hoping it helps other cheerleaders experiencing the same thing.

"I know what it's like to not have a voice and it really sucks, and so I just want to be their voice because I have the opportunity to," Ally Wakefield said.

Principal Andy Mendelsberg, assistant principal Lisa Porter, Williams, assistant cheer coach Mariah Cladis and Denver Public Schools deputy general counsel Michael Hickman have been placed on leave during the investigation.