Police recommend more child abuse charges for Hamilton principal, former coach

Suspects in the Hamilton High School hazing case could also face additional charges, according to Chandler police.

CHANDLER, Ariz. - The Chandler Police Department has recommended an additional charge of child abuse for both former Hamilton High School head football coach Steve Belles and principal Ken James.

The recommendation for the additional charge is in connection to the ongoing investigation into allegations of hazing and sexual assault among football players at Hamilton High School. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office was notified of the additional recommendations on Aug. 31, according to a department spokesperson.

The new charge brings the total to four recommended charges of child abuse for each man.

RELATED: Police: Hamilton officials tried to suppress sexual hazing evidence

The county attorney's office has not made an official decision on whether any of those charges will actually be filed. Shawn Rustad, the school's athletic director, has also been recommended for charges.

In the time since detectives announced their investigation to the public, three more alleged victims have come forward and are working with police.

According to the department, the claims involve both physical and sexual assault that occurred inside the football locker room and weight room. The victims have told investigators the incidents happened between the fall of 2015 and January 2017.

ALSO: Email details alleged sexual assault as part of Hamilton HS hazing rituals

Three assault suspects have been charged in the case -- two as juveniles and one, Nathaniel Thomas, as an adult. Police say there may be additional charges pending the outcome of their investigation.

Investigators also said that at this point, it does not appear any additional suspects will be named in the case. 


© 2017 KPNX-TV


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