Three administrators at the center of a sexual-abuse and hazing scandal at Hamilton High School have been reassigned to work elsewhere in the Chandler Unified School District, the district announced Friday afternoon.
Chandler school district spokesman Terry Locke said that the district communicated to parents Friday that Principal Ken James, Athletic Director Shawn Rustad and former football coach Steve Belles “will be reassigned to work in other district-related duties away from the Hamilton High campus” starting Monday.
“While none of the employees have been charged, it could be some time before the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office decides how it will proceed,” Locke said. “Therefore, to avoid any distraction caused by this uncertainty, the district administration and employees believe that reassignment is the best course at this time.”
Chris Farabee, an assistant principal at Hamilton High for the past 14 years, will fill in for James as as acting principal. Sharon Vanis, a former Hamilton High athletic director, will step in for Rustad. Another teacher is expected to take over Belles’ history classes.
The district did not specify the new assignments for James, Rustad and Belles.
It has been eight weeks since Chandler police recommended that James, Rustad and Belles be charged with child abuse and failing to report the alleged sexual abuse of five players reportedly assaulted by fellow teammates in a hazing initiation.
No charging decision on the school officials has been made by the County Attorney’s Office. The case remains under review.
“We’re going to hold off on commenting until a charging decision is made,” Amanda Jacinto, the office’s spokeswoman, said when asked about the Chandler school district’s announcement.