CLEVELAND — Michelle Mills of Cleveland was left upset, saddened and stunned after she said her 10-year-old daughter came home from a youth cheerleading sleepover with broken ribs and chunk of hair missing from her scalp.
Mills told News 5 she and her husband, Antwain Weems, reported the Sept. 25 incident to Brooklyn Police, after they said their daughter was attacked by four other girls on the cheerleading squad, ages 10 and 11.
All four girls have now been charged by Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court with second degree felonious assault.
The sleepover was hosted by a volunteer cheerleading coach who was with the Impact Youth Bearcats Cheer and Dance program, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Cleveland Muny Football League. The volunteer coach was fired after the incident, and all four girls were removed from the program, but Mills still has concerns on why and how the alleged attack on her daughter took place.
“She went through this for a long period of time because it was a sleepover, so it was hours that she was in the care of this coach,” Mills said. “One girl said there’s something in your hair, immediately somebody is pulling her braids left, right, up, down. Another girl pushes her down, then three of them proceed to stomp her, they proceed to punch her and she’s laying on the floor, she’s crying.”
Mills said her daughter complained about significant pain, so she took her to the doctor the day after the incident and that's when they discovered multiple broken ribs.
“And when I pulled my daughter's shirt up, there were bruises on the left side, bruises on the right side," Mills said. “She has a bald spot because they pulled her braid out, the coach said two days later they found the braid, they hid the braid in the coach's home.”
Antwain Weems told News 5 he can't understand why the cheerleading coach didn't hear the alleged attack taking place in the Brooklyn home.
"I don’t know how something like that can happen on somebody’s watch, it’s never happens on mine," Weems said “We are expecting our child to be returned to us the same way we dropped our child off. Somebody needs to be held accountable for that, and nobody wants to take accountability, they want to just say I’m sorry and want us to turn the other cheek.”
Weems showed News 5 a copy of the incident report issued by Impact Youth Bearcats Cheerleading, which included extensive interviews with all the people involved and a list of post-incident instructions.
News 5 reached out to the fired volunteer cheerleading coach and the parents of the four children charged in this case, but all of them refused to issue a comment.
We also reached out to Impact Youth Bearcats Football and Cheer, and Cleveland Muny Football and they issued a joint statement:
"It is unfortunate that this incident took place at someone's private home. However, this event was not a sanctioned activity by Cleveland Muny Football nor Impact Youth Bearcats Football and Cheer."
Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court said the four girls charged with second degree felonious assault have been arraigned on the charge and are set for attorney conferences on Jan. 3.
The court told News 5 if the girls are convicted they could be ordered to any of the following; commitment to the Ohio Department of Youth Services for minimum of 1 year until they reach 21, a fine up to $1,000, community service, probation, house arrest, court costs and/or additional fines.
Meanwhile, Mills is concerned about the emotional wellbeing of her daughter following the alleged attack.
“My daughter has not gotten one apology, and these girls need to know that bullying is not okay," Mills said. "This could have went way worse than it did. Broken bones are severe but my daughter could have went to sleep that night and not wake back up. And that is a reality that me and him are living with to this day, we could have lost our daughter that night.”