A Hamilton High School football player has been granted a $25,000 bond after being accused of excessive hazing.
Nathaniel Thomas, 17, is charged as an adult and is facing nine criminal charges – including sexual assault and kidnapping. Initially, he was being held without bond after his arrest last week.
Nearly 200 people, mainly high school students, came to court for the evidentiary hearing. Nearly all said they came to support Thomas.
One row in the courtroom was reserved for victims and their families. Prosecutors have named four victims in the hazing case. The crimes allegedly occurred in the Hamilton High School locker room between September 2015 and January 2017.
Thomas' attorney said the bond will be posted either today or tomorrow. He called the evidence against his client "contradictory" at best, and he blames Hamilton football coaches for poor supervision.
Prosecutors urged a much higher bond saying Thomas threatened victims in the case, and they wanted to give unidentified victims a chance to come forward.
Two 16-year-old Hamilton players were also arrested last week and remain in custody in the juvenile court system.
Hamilton's football coach Steve Belles has been "reassigned" away from the school pending a full investigation. The school district says that move is indefinite and non-disciplinary.