A federal judge partially dismissed a lawsuit earlier this week against Hamilton High School in Chandler involving former football players and their families who say administrators failed to notify police about sexual abuse allegations involving teammates as part of a hazing ritual.
In June, lawyers for the Chandler Unified School District told U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton that she should dismiss some of the claims by the players and their parents made in the lawsuit.
Bolton agreed with some of their arguments and ruled Tuesday that three claims in the lawsuit should be dismissed. She said in her order that school officials had no constitutional duty to protect the players.
“Defendants had no federal constitutional duty to protect minor plaintiffs, even from a known danger like that alleged here,” Bolton wrote.
The lawsuit, which was filed in May by a lawyer representing the former players, can still go on with the remaining claims, in which the former students allege a violation of federal civil rights law and other violations of state law.
The development is the latest in a scandal that had plagued the school and the district when news first broke more than a year ago that players may have been abused and coaches and other school officials failed to report it to police.
Chandler police had recommended three school administrators be charged with child abuse in connection to the hazing incidents.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said at a press conference in February that he would not file charges against former Principal Ken James, former Athletic Director Shawn Rustad and former head football coach Steve Belles because there were not enough victims that came forward to make a strong case against school administrators. If more victims came forward, he could reopen the case, Montgomery said then.
Meanwhile, the county attorney filed charges against Nathaniel Thomas, 17, and two other unidentified minors in connection to the alleged sexual abuse.
Thomas’ case is still pending in Maricopa County Superior Court, where he is being prosecuted as an adult. But the two other cases, which have been adjudicated, are sealed; a judge denied a request by The Arizona Republic’s to view the outcome of those cases.
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