Hazing Scandal Staff Reassigned


As the football team hazing scandal at Hamilton High School widens,  the staff members at the center of the controversy are being reassigned  to duties away from the school.

In a release sent to Hamilton High parents on Friday, the Chandler  Unified School District says that principal Ken James, Athletic Director  Shawn Rustad, and teacher (and former head football coach) Steve Belles  "will be reassigned to work in other district-related duties away from  the Hamilton High campus, effective September 25, 2017, and until  further notice." Belles was suspended as football coach but has retained  his employment as a teacher.

Six former football players have now come forward claiming that they  were sexually assaulted as a form of hazing by older members of the team  over the past couple of years.  A police investigation determined that  Belles, Rustad, and James knew about the alleged abuse and did nothing  about it other than urge players not to engage in hazing.  

Three former players have been formally charged, and Chandler police  have recommended criminal charges against James, Rustad, and Belles for  failing to report the abuse claims to law enforcement.

The memo to parents says "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.  Therefore, to avoid any distraction  caused by this uncertainty, the District administration and employees  believe that reassignment is the best course at this time."

In the interim, the district says, Chris Farabee will serve as acting  principal.  He has been Hamilton's assistant principal for the last 14  years.

Sharon Vanis will serve as acting athletic director, having served in that role previously.

Another teacher will assume responsibility for Belles' classes.

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