Police ID 17-year-old suspect in Hamilton HS hazing investigation

Posted: Updated:
Booking photo for Nathaniel William Thomas (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Booking photo for Nathaniel William Thomas (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Nathaniel William Thomas court appearance (Source: Maricopa County Superior Court) Nathaniel William Thomas court appearance (Source: Maricopa County Superior Court)
Nathaniel William Thomas, 17 (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Nathaniel William Thomas, 17 (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

Police have released the name of the 17-year-old suspect in the alleged hazing case involving the Hamilton High School football team.

Nathaniel William Thomas faces charges of child molestation, kidnapping and aggravated assault. The charges have been filed in adult court.

Thomas made his first court appearance Friday.

[Booking photo: Nathaniel William Thomas]

On Thursday, March 30, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced formal charges against three teenagers for incidents based on a Chandler Police investigation of hazing at the high school.

Two 16-year-olds were charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, and assault in juvenile court.

Prosecutors in the case have asked the court to consider transferring the teens to the adult system.

A submittal involving a 15-year-old suspect is being investigated further.

Chandler police continue to investigate and are looking into the possibility of more victims.

[RELATED: 3 teens formally charged in Hamilton High School hazing incident ]

We first learned of this incident Wednesday, after six students were arrested in connection with the hazing case. The case involved multiple victims, according to the Chandler Police Department.

Five of those suspects attend Hamilton High School near Arizona Avenue and Ocotillo Road. The sixth suspect is a student at Chief Hill Learning Academy near Frye and Cooper roads. All of the suspects and victims are either current or former football players for Hamilton High School, police said.

On Thursday, the Chandler Unified School District released the following statement:

"The District continues to cooperate with Chandler Police Department in its investigation that resulted in yesterday's arrests of five Hamilton students.  If anyone else has information that may be helpful to this investigation, the District joins in urging you to contact Chandler Police Department immediately at (480) 782-4130. 

At this time, the District is not privy to all of the information that Chandler Police Department has gathered in its investigation.  But once Chandler Police Department has completed its investigation, the District will be conducting a full assessment of the situation and taking appropriate action.

In the meantime, the District reiterates its anti-hazing policy and is providing continuing education and training to its students.  The student violence/harassment/intimidation/bullying (JICK) policy is included in the student handbook distributed earlier this school year and is also posted conspicuously in each school building.

The District's adoption and enforcement of its anti-hazing policy further promotes the right of students to be educated in a positive, safe, and respectful learning environment."

[Raw video: Chandler police briefing]

"A lot of it has to do with hierarchy, it has to do with whether or not kids are competing against one another," said clinical psychologist Lisa Strohman.

While she has no knowledge of the Hamilton incident, she has years of experience in dealing with aggression among adolescents.

"There is this culture with kids that they have a no-tell policy and they try and keep things from their parents, and they feel if a parent finds out that they're weak," Strohman said.

She said she has seen an increase in aggression among kids and teens.

"I believe technology shows the more kids are online, the less empathy they have and the higher aggression they have," she said.

She suggests looking for behavioral changes in your child, and trust your gut.

"Kids are talking to one another online," Strohman said. "And so the only people they're not telling are the parents, so if you see that behavioral change, you need to look at their social media online."

VIDEO: Watch Thomas's court appearance HERE.

View PDF of police documents HERE.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Social Connect

  • Contact

    AZ Family