The criminal cases against two teenagers criminally charged as a result of the Hamilton High School sex hazing scandal have been resolved in juvenile court. The outcomes have been sealed.
Nathaniel Thomas is the only juvenile charged as an adult for sex crimes related to the Hamilton investigation that rocked their football program earlier this year.
Thomas' defense attorney, Cindy Castillo, indicated in court Tuesday that a plea deal might be in the works regarding her client’s sex assault and molestation charges.
“I believe that we are at a point at least to start some open dialogue with respect to a resolution of this case. I have ad conversations with Ms. Grimsman with respect to setting a settlement conference. She is asking for some items and so we will need some time to discuss those items before we're able to actually possibly discuss a real resolution in this case,” said Castillo.
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Meantime, Hamilton has chosen a new head football coach. He is Mike Zdebski, a Michigan high school Hall of Fame coach, who according to his bio, has one state title, 160 wins and multiple semi-final appearances in his 30-year coaching career at Walled Lake Western High in Michigan.
In 2011, Zdebski's program was also marred by a hazing scandal, which according to the Oakland Press, cost his two assistant coaches their jobs and resulted in at least five player suspensions.
In a statement, Chandler Unified’s athletic director Marcus Williams said:
"I am extremely confident we selected a great educator and coach to lead the Hamilton football program into the future. He comes to Chandler Unified School District highly regarded by staff, students, and community. Coach Z has demonstrated strong character over a 30-year span and shaped the lives of hundreds of student-athletes during his time at Walled Lake Western. We looked into the issue in 2011 and it didn’t measure up to hazing, rather an isolated incident at a private home per information received. I am impressed by the way the situation was handled appropriately, including discipline by all parties that were involved."
Ousted Hamilton football coach, Steve Belles, and two other administrators have been recommended for criminal charges by the Chandler Police Dept. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has not yet made a charging decision.
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