Hamilton HS football player pleads not guilty in hazing case

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(Source 3TV/CBS 5) (Source 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Hamilton High School football player Nathaniel Thomas has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in connection with a hazing investigation.

Thomas entered the plea during a court appearance Thursday morning.

[VIDEO: Nate Thomas court appearance Thursday]

The 17-year-old student is being charged as an adult in connection with a hazing investigation involving the school's football team.

Thomas was released from jail last Thursday morning.

[READ MORE: Judge: Suspect in Hamilton HS hazing being released from jail]

The judge granted release on a $25,000 bond. He was also to remain under house arrest.

"It's shocking to go to jail and be surrounded by murderers. He's happy to go home and be with his mom," attorney Kenneth Countryman said after the hearing.

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

Police and prosecutors say Thomas and others restrained younger members of the football team, and violently, sexually assaulted them. The alleged incidents happened in the Hamilton High School locker room.

"These are absolutely disturbing allegations, but he didn't do them. This case is about a severe lack of supervision on the part of the coaches at the high school," Countryman said.

Countryman admits some sort of "horseplay" took place in the locker room but says it was "blown out of proportion."

"There clearly was a 'Lord of the Flies mentality,'" he said.

Besides remaining under house arrest, Thomas has been ordered not to contact any of the alleged victims or suspects in the case.

[READ MORE: Hamilton High School head coach reassigned amidst hazing investigation

Thomas is due back in court May 25.

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


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