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Hamilton High School football coach placed on leave during hazing investigation

Hamilton High School head football coach Steve Belles (left) was placed on leave while a hazing investigation is conducted. (Twitter and Facebook Photos)

PHOENIX — Hamilton High School’s head football coach was placed on leave Monday amid an ongoing hazing investigation, the school district said.

In a press release, the Chandler Unified School District said Steve Belles will not be present on Hamilton’s campus while he is on paid leave. The district originally said he was being reassigned.

“The reassignment is indefinite in length and is not disciplinary,” the release said.

Three football players had been charged in the case as of Monday. One 17-year-old has been charged as an adult with sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault. Two 16-year-olds were charged as juveniles with kidnapping, aggravated assault and assault.

Amanda Jacinto, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors have asked the court to consider charging the 16-year-olds as adults.

A 15-year-old is still being investigated as a potential suspect, Jacinto said.

The suspects were part of a group of six high school football players who were arrested for hazing allegations last week.

The crimes, which were not described by police, were allegedly committed between September 2015 and January 2017 on school grounds, but police said they first learned of them in February.

Chandler police are continuing to investigate the allegations and are “looking into the possibility of more victims,” Jacinto said.

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