Three Hamilton High School football players have been charged with serious crimes related to an investigation into hazing of team members, which authorities say took place on school property, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

One of the players is a 17-year-old boy who has been charged as an adult with sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault, according to a county attorney spokeswoman.

In addition, two 16-year-old boys have been charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault and assault. They have been charged as juveniles, the spokeswoman said.

Prosecutors are continuing to investigate a charge that Chandler police are seeking against a 15-year-old player believed to be involved.

Details of the offenses remained sparse Thursday, and police said the investigation remains ongoing. The County Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request from The Arizona Republic for charging documents for the 17-year-old as of late Thursday afternoon. He was not identified in the county attorney’s announcement.

Suspects who remain in the Juvenile Court system typically are not identified by authorities.

‘Multiple male juvenile victims’

Chandler police said the investigation of crimes related to the football hazing spanned approximately 17 months and involved “multiple male juvenile victims.” All of the offenses took place on the school campus, located at Arizona Avenue and Ocotillo Road in Chandler, police said.

Chandler police Detective Seth Tyler said the hazing was limited to members of the football team.

Police and the Chandler Unified School District both have confirmed the investigation began last month, after a complaint came to the district.

Hamilton boasts one of the most successful high-school football programs in Arizona, having won seven state championships since 2003.

Chandler police announced Wednesday that it had arrested six players, ranging in age from 16 to 18 years old, all of them Hamilton High School students and one who also attends the district’s Chief Hill Learning Academy part time.

Two of the original suspects, including an unidentified 18-year-old student, were released by Chandler police on Wednesday night without charges.

Tyler said although charges are not presently being pursued against those two players, there is “always a possibility they could re-enter the case.”

Anyone with information urged to call police

Chandler Unified School District officials issued a statement Thursday urging anyone with information to call Chandler police at 480-782-4130. The district has reiterated its anti-hazing policy included in the student handbook, which is designed to promote a positive, safe and respectful learning environment, district officials said.

“At this time, the District is not privy to all of the information that Chandler Police Department has gathered in its investigation. But once Chandler Police Department has completed its investigation, the District will be conducting a full assessment of the situation and taking appropriate action,” the statement said.

In addition, Hamilton’s own sexual-harassment policy promises a “prompt and thorough investigation” by the district when incidents are reported. School investigations are typically spearheaded by an administrator and involve interviewing the alleged victims, harassers and witnesses as well as reviewing any documents or records as evidence.

When the alleged offense may have violated the law, “the incident shall be reported promptly to the appropriate law enforcement agency” and district officials should not wait for that investigation to conclude before pursuing their own, the policy says.

District spokesman Terry Locke cited federal privacy laws and declined to say whether the district had imposed disciplinary action against any of the players when contacted by The Republic on Wednesday. He added, “Any disciplinary measure the district takes will be in accordance with district policy and procedure.”

“Specific allegations about a sexual assault were received by the district in February of this year and turned over to police,” Locke said.

Locke said the district was not aware of any employees being investigated and that no employee had been suspended in connection with the matter. Police said on Wednesday that school staff, including coaches, were interviewed as part of the investigation but none were considered suspects.

More on hazing cases: 

Bordow: Paradise Valley did right thing in regard to hazing incident

Investigation: Church with Tucson roots accused of stalking, hazing at Arizona State University

Boivin: MLB rookie hazing was dumb, offensive to women

Sorority hazing in Scottsdale? Nope, it was reality TV

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