In February, 2017, Chandler Police learned of possible criminal acts by members of the Hamilton High School football team against their teammates. Investigators learned six players, five juveniles and one adult, were involved in acts of sexual and physical assault, and kidnapping against other members of the football team. On March 29, 2017, detectives arrested the six students and all were charged with crimes ranging from sexual assault and kidnapping to aggravated assault.
At the time of their arrest, investigators had four confirmed victims. On June 1, 2017, detectives executed a search warrant at Hamilton High School. As the case progressed, detectives learned three faculty members, former Head Football Coach Steve Belles, Principal Ken James, and Athletic Director Shawn Rustad, may have been aware of the criminal acts, but did not report the incidents to police.
On July 21, 2017, the Department submitted a recommendation for charges against Steve Belles, Ken James, and Shawn Rustad. The submittal recommended a charge of one count of Failure to Report and four counts of Child Abuse against Mr. Belles, two counts of Failure to Report and four counts of Child Abuse against Mr. James, and one count of Failure to Report against Mr. Rustad. Since the July 21, 2017 filing, two additional victims have been identified with one of the alleged assaults occurring after Mr. Belles and Mr. James were allegedly made aware of the criminal acts.
In all, detectives have identified six victims of sexual and physical assault, and kidnapping. Of these victims, four were victimized after the faculty members allegedly learned of the criminal activity. All six victims are juvenile males.
Detectives believe there may be additional victims.
If you are a victim, or if your child is a victim, please call either Silent Witness at (480) WITNESS or the Chandler Police Department at (480) 782-4130.