This story was originally published May 24, 2017.
CHANDLER, Ariz. - The former head coach of the Hamilton High School football team said Wednesday he had asked his players if they knew about any hazing.
Steve Belles, who was removed as coach after six players were arrested, said the players all denied hazing was happening.
Belles made the comments on the Brad Cesmat Show on sportsaz360.com.
"We thought the case had been shut," Belles said. "Every time we asked, it was 'No, no, no, there's nothing going on.'"
Six players were arrested but only three were charged. Two were charged as juveniles. Nathaniel Thomas, 17, was charged as an adult with sexual assault, kidnapping and molestation.
"I don't know what we would have done different because we didn't know," Belles said.
Belles has since been "reassigned" within the district, away from Hamilton High. District officials said the reassignment was not punitive.
Belles said ultimately the team was his responsibility.
"I was the captain of the ship. I'm the one being held responsible," Belles said.
Thomas has since been released on bond.