A criminal case against a teenager charged as an adult in connection with a sexual-assault investigation involving Hamilton High School football players is expected to be resolved this spring, the teen’s lawyer said Friday.
At a court hearing, Cindy Castillo told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Danielle Viola that a settlement conference hearing should be scheduled sometime in April for her client to enter a plea deal.
Details of the potential plea deal were not discussed during the Friday hearing.
Nathaniel Thomas, a former Hamilton football player charged as an adult in the case, is out on bond under terms that he does not access the internet except for educational purposes.
Nathaniel William Thomas. (Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)
Thomas is charged with nine counts, including aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping and child molestation. He was 17 when arrested last year, but the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office charged him as an adult.
The case, which has been under investigation by the Chandler Police Department, sent shock waves through the Chandler school and rocked a football program that has been among the state’s most successful over the past 15 years.
Three school officials, including the principal and head football coach, were removed from their jobs. Chandler police have recommended charges against them as well, saying they had known about ongoing reports of sexual abuse of younger boys in the football program by older team members, but failed to report them to proper authorities, instead opting to handle it in-house.
Friday’s court hearing came after the cases against two other boys charged in connection with the case were resolved, according to officials. The two 16-year-old former players had been charged with kidnapping, assault and aggravated assault. Those cases were being handled in Juvenile Court.
The details of the resolved cases have not been disclosed because the judge in those cases has sealed the records at the request of the boys’ lawyers.
In December, The Arizona Republic asked the judge in the case if the details of the outcome could be made public. But the judge hasn’t responded to the request.
In July, Chandler police recommended charging Principal Ken James, Athletic Director Shawn Rustad and former head football coach Steve Belles with child abuse and failing to report the alleged sexual abuse of five players suspected of being assaulted by fellow teammates in a hazing initiation.
The three were reassigned in September.
The County Attorney’s Office has been reviewing the case and has yet to say whether they will be formally charged.
How a single email launched football hazing investigation that led to assault charges
3 Hamilton High School football players charged after hazing investigation
Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/2s4eXZe