DOCUMENT: K-12, Crime

Hanging With The Coach

High school teacher accused of violent "workout" methods

William Lee

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Hanging With The Coach

MARCH 26--North Carolina police are investigating a high school teacher and former basketball coach who allegedly invited male students to his home for workout sessions that included youngsters getting punched, hit with a baseball bat, and hung by their wrists.

According to this probable cause affidavit filed in Rowan County District Court, a 2003 graduate of Salisbury High School approached police last month and told them about being invited to educator William Lee's home for workouts.

The former student alleges that Lee, 53, asked him to make a video showing "how scary he could look on camera." Lee allegedly took the teen to his garage, where he strapped the boy to a wooden bench, and told him to take off all his clothing. Lee directed the student to scream like he was in pain while the educator "poured a bucket of cold water on him and punched him in the stomach several times."

Another student, a 15-year-old identified as "Witness 1," told cops he and his friends went to Lee's home to "workout and hangout," and occasionally spent the night. He told a detective that as part of their workout routine, "Coach Lee has punched him in the stomach before" and has also taken measurements of his body.

A 2009 graduate, identified in the affidavit as "Witness 2," told police that Lee (pictured at left) took him to the attic, used fabric to hang him by his wrists from a beam, and "hit him in the stomach with a wooden baseball bat." The “weirdest” incident, "Witness 2" reported, occurred while he was being punched while hanging from a pull-up bar. "Coach Lee poured water into his mouth, then went back to punching him," according to the affidavit.

Lee, who has been employed at the high school since 1980, has been placed on leave while police investigate the allegations. (7 pages)