High school officials 'KNEW about football team's locker room "Rape Squad" for years and failed to report it'

  • New details emerged in Hamilton High School investigation in Chandler, Arizona
  • Police recommended charges against three administrators for alleged cover-up
  • Varsity football players accused of molesting 'Fresh Meat' younger players
  • Police say notes mentioning team's 'Rape Squad' were found in school office?

Football player Nathaniel Thomas, 17, was charged as an adult in the case

Football player Nathaniel Thomas, 17, was charged as an adult in the case

Administrators at a prominent Arizona high school knew about allegations of abuse in the football team's locker room but failed to alert authorities, according to newly released records.

Police recommended charges against the principal, athletic director and head coach at Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona.

At least four players were allegedly abused by older teammates at the public high school, the largest in Arizona.

The three administrators have all been transferred, and prosecutors said they are reviewing the recommendation to charge them.

Previously charged as an adult in the case was football player Nathaniel William Thomas, 17, who has pleaded not guilty to?sexual assault and multiple counts of molestation, kidnapping and aggravated assault involving alleged attacks on three people.

Two other players, both 16, were charged as juveniles for kidnapping, aggravated assault and assault.

In hundreds of pages of newly released police records, sordid details of the alleged locker room brutality and administrative cover-up have come to light for the first time.

The three administrators at Hamilton High School have all been transferred, and prosecutors said they are reviewing the recommendation to charge them for failing to report abuse

The three administrators at Hamilton High School have all been transferred, and prosecutors said they are reviewing the recommendation to charge them for failing to report abuse

The report described players slapping other players with their genitalia, urinating on each other in the shower, and one student who ate feces on a dare among other horrors, reported ABC15.

Freshman players were known as 'Fresh Meat' and would be assaulted before being told 'welcome to varsity,' the report said.

Younger players would shower in their boxers out of fear of being molested, police said.?

One player told cops that when a coach walked in at the end of an assault, the coach berated at the victim for being on the floor.

In once incident relayed by witnesses, former Coach Steve Belles dressed down the entire team in mid-2016, saying: 'a bunch of [expletive] Sanduskys in here. Putting fingers in [expletive]? Are you guys [expletive] gay? Cut it out.'

The report said notes mentioning the team's 'Toon Squad and Rape Squad' were found in administrative offices. A text message group called 'Tune Squad' was used by the varsity players involved in the alleged abuse, police said.

In one text message, in response to a player's arrest, one player sent the message 'It's fire alarms you all.' Another person replied, 'No it's the raping.'?

The locker room abuse allegations have rocked the prominent high school in Arizona

The locker room abuse allegations have rocked the prominent high school in Arizona

Among the items seized from the principal's office was an email with a screen shot of an exchange reportedly between two players about how coaches knew what was going on but didn't do anything about it.

The message mentions that coaches held a meeting five months earlier in which they discussed the attacks.

'Had these offenses been properly reported it is possible that many of the sexual assaults would not have occurred,' lead investigator Amanda Janssen wrote in a report.

Investigators say then-Athletic Director Shawn Rustad received an anonymous voicemail in January saying younger football players were being harassed. A police report said the voicemail has been deleted.

At the direction of then-Principal Ken James, Rustad interviewed four players, including one who says his clothes were removed while he was held down, the records state. Investigators say Rustad relayed the information to then-Coach Steve Belles and instructed him to address this situation with the team.

Rustad didn't notify the parents of the four players who had been interviewed, according to the police records.

Nathaniel William Thomas (right) has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and multiple counts of molestation, kidnapping and aggravated assault involving alleged attacks on three people

Nathaniel William Thomas (right) has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and multiple counts of molestation, kidnapping and aggravated assault involving alleged attacks on three people

Amanda Jacinto, a spokeswoman for the county prosecutor's office in metro Phoenix, said the agency is reviewing the recommendation by investigators to charge James, Rustad and Belles.

'A charging decision has not been made in this case, but we are still encouraging anyone with information to come forward to investigators,' Jacinto said.

The police records say Belles, who led the team to five state championships since becoming head coach in 2006, denied having been contacted by administrators about a phone call or hazing.?

He also told investigators that he knew nothing about hazing or assaults until he was told by an unknown source that a mother had contacted a police officer who monitored the school.

James, Rustad and Belles have been reassigned to other jobs within the school district.

'Steve Belles, if he had known about something, would have done something,' said Jack Wilenchik, one of his attorneys. 'And the fact is (that) he didn't know anything.'

Rustad and James didn't respond to emails sent Friday seeking comment.

Terry Locke, spokesman for the Chandler Unified School District, said in an email that district officials will review the hundreds of pages of police records.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

What's This?

By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.