This story was originally published April 3, 2017.
The Chandler Unified School District released a statement Monday saying Hamilton High School football coach Steve Belles has been "reassigned to home".
The move comes after three football players were charged for assault related to hazing "traditions" on the team that took place over two years.
According to the district, Belles will not be on campus during the reassignment, which is "indefinite in length and is not disciplinary."
Belles is also a teacher at the school.
One of the players was charged as an adult and faces counts of sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated assault and molestation of a child.
The suspect, 17-year-old Nathaniel Thomas, was accused of being the ring leader and allegedly committed most of the acts, according to court documents.
Complete statement from the school:
Effective April 3, 2017, CUSD has reassigned Steve Belles, teacher and head football coach. During the term of the reassignment, Belles will not be present on the Hamilton High School campus. The reassignment is indefinite in length and is not disciplinary.
The district superintendent also sent the following letter to Hamilton parents Monday:
To Hamilton High School Parents,
This is the most difficult letter I have ever needed to write. The recent reports surrounding the Hamilton High School football program have left us all stunned. I know you need/want information and I wish I had more to share. We are fully cooperating with the Chandler Police Department. I know you join us in wanting all the facts and to make sure that there is a thorough investigation of the allegations. We are in daily contact with the Police Department and are told the investigation will take time as it is very complex.
It is so troubling to learn that we have had students who have felt unsafe and vulnerable. Our prayers are with them and the entire community. We will get to the bottom of this and, more importantly, will take whatever corrective action is necessary.
I ask each of you to join me in remembering just how extraordinary Hamilton High is and has been since its doors opened in 1998. They have distinguished themselves in every aspect of high school life. The successes, honors, and accomplishments are unprecedented in this State and across the nation. They are, and will remain, a premier high school.
During the most difficult moments I remind myself that an individual or group does not define who HHS is, nor does it minimize what they have accomplished. Most importantly, the Hamilton community is resilient and there is no doubt in my mind that they will overcome this adversity and be stronger.
Right now they need our support and the Governing Board, Administration, and entire District stand behind them as we patiently wait for the Chandler Police Department and the County Attorney to complete their work.
Camille Casteel Ed.D
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