Denver East High School principal Andy Mendelsberg will retire and athletic director Lisa Porter will resign, Denver Public Schools superintendent Tom Boasberg announced Friday.
Denver East, Mendeslberg and Porter will all go their separate ways after an independent investigation into former cheerleading coach Ozell Williams’ mistreatment of his team was completed this week.
Last month, video surfaced of a Denver East High School cheerleader crying out in pain as Williams held her into a forced splits position. Mendeslberg and Porter were made aware of the video in June, according to the report, but allowed Williams to continue coaching. Williams was fired in August after the video was made public by 9 News.
Boasberg said Friday that Mendeslberg and Porter “did not sufficiently address, share or report allegations of abuse in the contents of the videos.”
Boasberg added that Mendeslberg and Porter should’ve fired Williams once they saw the video.
“They did not implement the necessary level of corrective action including termination of the cheer coach,” he said.
The investigation and report, which was conducted by Denver law firm Davis Graham & Stubbs, shed light on some of Williams’ behavior during his four-month tenure as Denver East’s cheerleading coach.
On April 28, a parent emailed Porter about an activity in which Williams allegedly asked East High’s cheerleaders to “write down two girls they have a problem with.”
On June 4, the same parent emailed Porter again. The parent, whose name has been redacted in the report, wrote, “I feel Ozell is overstepping his boundaries as coach by requiring to follow all the girls on all social media channels and now requiring (them) to download My Fitness Pal app to monitor activity levels and food intake.”
Boasberg said he placed Mendelberg, Porter and Williams on leave after he saw the video for the first time Aug. 23 while the independent investigation was underway. Two days later, Williams was fired. Now Mendelberg and Williams are no longer with the school.
“The report makes clear in painful detail that over multiple months and in multiple instances involving concerns of a serious nature that East High School Principal Andy Mendelsberg and athletic director Lisa Porter did not take the sufficient steps to ensure that the physical and emotional safety and well being of the students on the East High School,” Boasberg said.
The criminal case into Williams’ actions is pending.
Subscribe to Denverite’s weekly sports newsletter here.