Teen accused in Hamilton High School hazing incident heads back to court

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A teen accused of sexually assaulting multiple victims in the Hamilton High School hazing incident is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) A teen accused of sexually assaulting multiple victims in the Hamilton High School hazing incident is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Nathaniel Thomas was one of three teens formerly charged in the hazing incident but was the only one to be charged as an adult. (Source: MCSO) Nathaniel Thomas was one of three teens formerly charged in the hazing incident but was the only one to be charged as an adult. (Source: MCSO)
Just last month, police recommended charges against the principal, athletic director and head coach saying they knew about allegations of abuse involving the football team but failed to alert authorities. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Just last month, police recommended charges against the principal, athletic director and head coach saying they knew about allegations of abuse involving the football team but failed to alert authorities. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -

A teen accused of sexually assaulting multiple victims in the Hamilton High School hazing incident is scheduled to appear back in court Tuesday morning.

Nathaniel Thomas was one of three teens formerly charged in the hazing incident but was the only one to be charged as an adult.

He is expected to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. for a status conference.

Thomas pled not guilty to multiple charges, including aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping and child molestation, in connection with the hazing investigation.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Hamilton High School hazing case]

He was released from jail last April.

The judge granted release on his $25,000 bond and was ordered to remain under house arrest.

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

Six students have come forward thus far but prosecutors believe there may be more.

[READ MORE: Chandler PD releases interview reports in Hamilton High hazing case]

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

Thomas' mother, Felisha Gillespie, defended her son in a September statement in front of media.

"My son did not do this," Gillespie said. "My son did not do this. He is innocent."

[EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton High whistleblower sits down for graphic interview]

She called this ordeal traumatizing and said her son is being treated as though he is guilty until proven innocent.

"This whole entire case frustrates me," Gillespie said. "The fact that my son was locked up and exposed to everything he's been exposed to for the past nine months frustrates me." She pointed to inconsistencies in the police reports.

Just last month, police recommended charges against the principal, athletic director and head coach saying they knew about allegations of abuse involving the football team but failed to alert authorities.

[RELATED: Sixth Hamilton High football player files claim in sex hazing scandal; asks for $10 million]

Officers who searched the school this summer said they found documents and discovered information about the misconduct allegations that should have been turned over to authorities. Among the items seized from the principal's office was an email with a screenshot of an exchange reportedly between two players about how coaches knew what was going on but didn't do anything about it.

The message mentions that coaches held a meeting five months earlier in which they discussed the attacks.

[TIMELINE: Hamilton High School hazing scandal]

Investigators say then-Athletic Director Shawn Rustad received an anonymous voicemail in January saying younger football players were being harassed. A police report said the voicemail has been deleted.

At the direction of then-Principal Ken James, Rustad interviewed four players, including one who says his clothes were removed while he was held down, the records state. Investigators say Rustad relayed the information to then-Coach Steve Belles and instructed him to address this situation with the team.

Rustad didn't notify the parents of the four players who had been interviewed, according to the police records.

[READ MORE: Hamilton administrators reassigned as hazing investigation continues]

The police records say Belles, who led the team to five state championships since becoming head coach in 2006, denied having been contacted by administrators about a phone call or hazing. He also told investigators that he knew nothing about hazing or assaults until he was told by an unknown source that a mother had contacted a police officer who monitored the school.

[READ MORE: Charges resolved against one Hamilton High suspect]

Thomas' court appearance comes after Hamilton High School tries to distance themselves from the incident, hiring a new head coach after posting the opening in December.

Hamilton hired Mike Zdebski as their next head football coach on Jan. 19. He comes Walled Lake Western in Michigan.

The hiring was announced via Chandler Unified School District's Twitter account.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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