In a public statement Friday, the Chandler Unified School District announced that three administrators have been reassigned from Hamilton High School as an investigation continues into allegations that the men had knowledge of incidents of hazing involving physical and sexual assault and failed to inform authorities.
According to district spokesperson Terry Locke, parents were informed Friday that principal Ken James, athletic director Shawn Rustad and former football coach Steve Belles "will be reassigned to work in other district-related duties away from the Hamilton High campus" as of Monday.
“While none of the employees have been charged, it could be some time before the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office decides how it will proceed," Locke told azcentral. "Therefore, to avoid any distraction caused by this uncertainty, the district administration and employees believe that reassignment is the best course at this time."
Chandler police began in March to document multiple reports of physical and sexual abuse allegedly occurring in the football locker room between the fall of 2015 and January 2017. According to reports, the assaults were part of an initiation ritual between members of the team and freshman players. Six victims have thus far come forward to corroborate the reports.
In July, police sought charges against James, Rustad and Belles, alleging that the men were aware that the abuse was taking place and failed to report any incidence of abuse to the authorities, and recommending that they be charged with child abuse.
Three Hamilton student-athletes will face criminal charges, while the district faces a potential loss of $34 million in damages.