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sabato 19 agosto 2017

5 victims in Hamilton High football sexual assault

Court documents accuse 17-year-old Nathaniel Thomas of being the ring leader who committed most of the acts while other players watched or in some cases helped. 
The family of a fifth student sexually assaulted by Hamilton High School football players has filed a multimillion-dollar notice of claim against the Chandler Unified School District.

Steve Belles 
The district now faces a total of $34 million in damages over allegations that coaches took steps to cover up hazing on campus.
The notices of claim, all filed by attorney Daniel Raynak, contend the district was negligent in supervising and hiring the school's football coaches, who “did nothing to prevent these attacks.”
The Republic has previously reported from court documents that four victims younger than 15 were assaulted between September 2015 and January 2017. Three football players face charges, with one being prosecuted as an adult.
The latest claim raises questions of whether Chandler police have identified more victims in the ongoing investigation.
A police spokesman said the department was working Thursday afternoon to provide clarification to The Republic.
Raynak did not immediately return a request for an interview.
Chandler police have recommended to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office that criminal charges be brought against Hamilton Principal Ken James, former Hamilton football head coach Steve Belles and Athletic Director Shawn Rustad.
In a statement submitted to the county attorney, police allege the three men failed to report violent hazing incidents involving team members to law enforcement.
No charging decisions have been announced by the county attorney.
James and Belles are named in the notices of claim, along with the school’s athletic director and multiple coaches who have not been publicly named by authorities. The notices allege James and Belles had knowledge of the assaults and then camouflaged the incidents when concerns were raised.
At one point, a coach walked in on an assault and didn’t take steps to alert law enforcement, the claims allege.
Chandler police told The Republic that detectives had no record that a coach had witnessed an incident.
Victims approached coaches for help to no avail, the claims said.
Instead, coaches met with players to determine steps to cover up incidents, according to documents obtained by The Republic.
Terry Locke, a Chandler Unified spokesman, declined to comment Thursday, saying the district does not discuss matters involving potential litigation.

PHOENIX - A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled that 17-year-old Nathaniel Thomas will not be released on bail because he has been charged with sexual assault.
Thomas, who has been charged as an adult, also faces multiple counts of kidnapping (3), aggravated assault (3), and molestation of a child (2), court documents say.
Court documents accuse Thomas of being the ring leader who committed most of the acts while other players watched or in some cases helped. 
He is one of three members of Hamilton High School’s football team who has been charged in connection with hazing that took place on school grounds between September 2015 and January 2017.
The school was alerted to the hazing by an anonymous voice mail left for the athletic director in January, court documents say. However, investigators say the call was not recorded nor was there documentation of the school's subsequent investigation.
According to court documents, when interviewed, school administrators and coaches expressed having conflicting levels of knowledge regarding the situation in the locker room.
Staff members reportedly told investigators they were hampered by the field house design in which there are no coaches' offices within visual or auditory range of the locker room.
There were at least four separate assault victims who were under the age of 15 years old, according to court paperwork. The assaults took place in the locker room, the investigation shows, as part of a tradition of initiation or hazing that took place over two seasons.
The victims, mainly freshmen players, were called "Fresh Meat," documents said.
According to court paperwork, "a successful 'initiation' included penetration of the anus by fingers and objects." Thomas "simulated sexual intercourse" with two minors -- one time after removing a boy's pants -- and reportedly inserted his finger into one boy's anus, court documents said. 
However in one incident, one of the charged juveniles, is accused of trying to put a cell phone in a victim's rectum through his clothes.
Investigators then alleges that same juvenile put his clothes genitals on the victim's face before spitting on him.
In addition, players took photos and videos of some of the assaults and posted them to social media, court documents stated. A number of players witnessed at least one of the incidents involving Thomas, which was also posted to Snapchat, according to the investigation.

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