Attorney: Anonymous reports aren't enough, victims must come forward in Hamilton case

Valley attorney Mike Black says without that evidence it would be extremely difficult to prosecute Hamilton Principal Ken James, Athletic Director Shawn Rustad and Coach Steve Belles.

CHANDLER, Ariz. - On Wednesday, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said it would not file charges against three adults involved in Hamilton High School hazing investigation.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery cited a lack of evidence and cooperation from victims witnesses to move forward in the case of the alleged hazing that took place within the school's football program.

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He said the case is lacking statements from key people he believes could help build a case against Hamilton Principal Ken James, Athletic Director Shawn Rustad and Coach Steve Belles over alleged sexual assaults happening inside the varsity locker room.

Valley attorney Mike Black says without that evidence it would be extremely difficult to prosecute. He said no matter what claims are being made, if there is no concrete evidence to support it, it won't hold up in court and won't be enough to convince a jury.

"They can't take oral complaints without any evidence to back it up," Black said.

Like Rustad's own admission to Chandler police detectives that he received an anonymous voicemail call last January on his work phone, just a few weeks before Chandler Police Department began investigating.

The voicemail was ultimately deleted and both Rustad and James told police they questioned athletes about the call and were told nothing happened. Neither of them contacted the police.

When asked if Rustad and James are in any violation of the failure to report statute, County Attorney Montgomery basically answered no.

"Only if we can prove what that anonymous caller said actually happened," Montgomery said. "And we can't get to the point where the allegations detailed in the call and identify who was involved in that to link it all up."

Black says oral reports won't be enough. What would actually help make the case would be direct statements from victims.

"Unless you have an actual human being who has been injured says, 'I was injured,' the testimony of people saying, 'I saw this, I think this happened,' an anonymous report isn't enough to bring charges," Black said.

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