Hamilton High School hazing case: Lawsuit filed against school staff members

Posted at 8:10 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 10:02:43-04

Five alleged victims have come together in a lawsuit against several staff members who were employed by Hamilton High School in Chandler during a hazing case that was first reported in 2017.

The lawsuit claims the list of staff members knew about sexual assaults, abuse, and other hazing incidents but failed to report it or taken any action to stop future attacks from happening.

“[...]conspired to make no report of such conduct to the proper authorities, or to take any action to prevent further attacks, or to punish the perpetrators or to otherwise protect the minor Plaintiffs,” the lawsuit states.

In February of 2018, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said there was not enough evidence in the case to prosecute the adults involved. One former student Nathaniel Thomas is still facing charges as an adult.

Two other players were charged as juveniles but their court records are not public at this time. 
Among the defendants in the lawsuit are:

  • Former principal Ken James
  • Former athletic director Shawn Rustad
  • Former head football coach Steve Belles
  • Former football coach Manuel Palomarez
  • Over a dozen former and current football players and their parents

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for medical expenses, court expenses, and other punitive damages. An exact amount isn’t stated.

When asked for comment on the lawsuit, the Chandler Unified School District sad they do not comment on pending litigation.