In February, 2017, Chandler Police became aware of allegations of sexual and physical assault and kidnapping by members of the school’s football team. Investigators soon learned six players, one adult and five juveniles, were involved in multiple instances of sexual and physical assaults against other members of the football team. On March 29, the six students were arrested and all were charged with crimes including sexual and aggravated assault and kidnapping. At this time, investigators had four confirmed victims. As the investigation continued, detectives executed a search warrant at the high school and learned that three faculty members may have known about the criminal acts but failed to report the incidents to police. These members include Principal Ken James, Athletic Director Shawn Rustad and former Head Football Coach Steve Belles.
On July 21, the Department submitted a recommendation for charges against the three faculty members. According to the official press release, “this includes one count of Failure to Report and four counts of Child Abuse against Mr. Belles, two counts of Failure to Report and four counts of Child Abuse against Mr. James, and one count of Failure to Report against Mr. Rustad.”
Two additional victims have been identified since the July filing. According to the official press release, one of the alleged assaults occurred after Mr. Belles and Mr. James were allegedly made aware of the criminal acts.
Thus far, six male juvenile victims have been identified and detectives believe there may be more. If you are a victim, or if your child is a victim, please call either Silent Witness at (480) WITNESS or the Chandler Police Department at (480) 782-4130.