3 families of alleged hazing victims plan to sue Chandler school district for $20 million

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Principal Ken James could face charges in connection to what he did and didn't know about the hazing allegations. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Principal Ken James could face charges in connection to what he did and didn't know about the hazing allegations. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

3TV/CBS 5 has just learned three families plan to sue Chandler Unified School District for a total of $20 million.

Three separate notice of claims filed were served to the district by their attorney, Daniel Raynak on May 24, but the paperwork has just been made available to the public.

The notice of claims cites "negligent hiring and negligent supervision."

[READ MORE: Hamilton High hazing allegations: Police recommend charges against former football coach, principal]

One family is asking for $7 million in compensatory damages, the second for $7 million in compensatory damages and the third for $6 million in compensatory damages.

Raynak said the families plan to use the money for counseling services and to help the kids allegedly hazed "get their lives back together."

Raynak said the district will see a lawsuit come in the coming months, but didn't specify exactly when. 

The school district didn't have much of a reply when asked about the pending lawsuit.

"This investigation is still active and we generally don't comment on pending litigation," the Chandler Unified School District said in a statement.

Earlier this year, several Hamilton High School football players were busted for alleged hazing. The multiple physical and sexual assaults took place between the fall of 2016 and January of 2017, investigators said.

One 17-year-old Hamilton High School student, Nathaniel William Thomas, was charged as an adult. He pleaded not guilty.

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

In addition, two 16-year-olds were charged in juvenile court.

[READ MORE: 3 teens formally charged in Hamilton High School hazing incident (March 30)]

[GRAPHIC CONTENT: Email sent to CUSD officials about hazing allegations]

The football team's former head coach and the school's principal could face criminal charges in connection to the hazing. Steve Belles was reassigned in May but the Chandler Unified School District officials said the move was “not disciplinary in nature.” The Chandler Police Department recommended charges to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. The prosecutors have yet to review the submission.

Principal Ken James remains at his position at the school.

Belles has won 5 state titles as coach at Hamilton High School, most recently in 2012.


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