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Former cheer coach denies molesting underage students

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, April 19, 2013, at 4:52 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at 6:03 p.m.

A former cheer coach charged with sexually abusing four of his underage students told a Sedgwick County jury Friday that he never had any illegal contact with any of the girls.

Timothy Wells-Lee, 29, took the stand and methodically denied each of the 11 charges filed against him, including three that carry potential life prison sentences.

Wells-Lee admitted that he had a relationship with one of the girls, but not until after she had turned 16.

“Other than (that) did you ever have a sexual relationship with any of these girls?” defense lawyer Roger Falk asked.

“No I did not.” Wells-Lee replied.

“I didn’t do any of this stuff.”

Prosecutors say the girls ranged in age from 12 to 14 when Wells-Lee abused them from 2006 through 2008, and all four girls testified at the trial. Most were sketchy about the dates of their sexual contacts with Wells-Lee, but all said they remembered vivid details of the encounters.

“Memories like that aren’t just going to go away,” one of the girls said of her first sexual encounter, which she said was with Wells-Lee.

Wells-Lee told the jury that he grew up in the town of Sedgwick and went to Butler Community College on a baseball scholarship. After an arm injury ended his baseball career, he said, he reluctantly agreed to try cheerleading, something his younger sisters had been involved in.

“I didn’t think it was something that straight guys did,” he said.

Wells-Lee said he turned out to be good at cheerleading, and he said he was named an All American by the National Cheerleaders Association while cheering at Wichita State University.

After college, Wells-Lee went on to coach at four cheer academies, prosecutors said, and he was working at Cheer Fusion in Wichita when most of the illegal activities occurred.

The case is expected to go to the jury on Monday.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-2680-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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