November 11th, 2011
07:34 PM ET

Police: Fraternity pledge severely injured in paddling; 9 arrested

Nine South Carolina college fraternity members were arrested this week on hazing charges, accused of beating and severely injuring a pledge with a paddle, authorities said.

The victim, a Francis Marion University student who was pledging Phi Beta Sigma, was paddled at an off-campus residence on October 23 “to such an extent as to have resulted in serious bodily injury” requiring hospitalization, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

CNN affiliate WBTW, citing investigators, reported that the victim suffered temporary injuries to his kidneys.

Florence County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Nunn told CNN that his office wasn’t releasing details of the student’s injuries, but he said the student had “an extended hospital stay.”

The suspects - three Francis Marion students and six alumni, according to WBTW - were charged with hazing, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to a year in jail.

The suspects appeared before a Florence County magistrate and have been released on $5,000 personal recognizance bonds, the sheriff’s office said.

“The arrest warrants allege that the suspects, each individually and collectively, committed the hazing by intentionally inflicting physical harm upon the victim in order for the victim to gain admission to the fraternity,” the sheriff’s office release said.

Nunn said the hospital treating the injured student contacted the sheriff’s office, triggering the office’s investigation.

Jimmy Hammock, international president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., said the fraternity’s headquarters has suspended the Francis Marion chapter.

“Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. takes any form of reported hazing very seriously,” Hammock said. “Hazing has not and does not represent the tradition and principles of the 97-year history of our fraternity.

“Specifically pertaining to the unfortunate injury of the Francis Marion student, the fraternity has and will continue to work closely with the campus officials and the local police concerning this situation.”

The university did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

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Filed under: Crime • South Carolina
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Mikey

    This is just more of the "preppy rah rah" bul l s hit that goes along with college and frat houses. I've always hated that garbage. It should have been banned long ago.

    November 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Limeygirl

    The more I hear about this the more I wonder why America accepts it. We don't have it in the UK higher education system, we would not tolerate it! It's just gang culture for posh kids!

    November 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      except that these practices came from Europe

      November 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Area Man

    Why in the world would anyone join an organization that required that you had to humiliate yourself to join? I had my head completely up my butt when I was a college freshman and I still had more sense than that.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ladyofargonne

    A year in jail? For assault with a deadly weapon? It will take that long for the poor guy to recover physically.

    November 23, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. welles

    Phi Beta Sigma is part of the National Pan Hellenic Council, an all black (african-american) greek lettered organizing body. They are not what quite a lot of people in these posts are referring to as typical fraternities. They also have very different recruitment processes than other Greek organizations. In fact the National Pan Hellenic Conference (for your "typical" sororities and fraternities, you know the ones associated with a formal rush week/rush prcoess) - and the organizations within them - have come down so hard on those fraternities/sororities in the past accused of hazing that it's a huge no no for such organizations. Nationals comes down very hard on those organizations that break the rules.

    November 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ray

    What about Omega Psi Phi? They have been branding each other with the Omega symbol for years.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TheManatee


    December 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PeteSakes

    O boy. Welcome to jaIL, boys, we have a little hazing ritual in here ourselves.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Terry

    Why would anyone in their right mind want to belong to a Fraternity or Sorority??? It only serves as an atmoshpere for young kids to become alcoholics and hurt others or be hurt by others.

    December 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • cornholio

      So true! And how could you ever feel a brotherhood with those who intentionally humiliated and abused you? Can't you get that without hundreds of dollars in dues and fees? So sad what some will do to "belong".

      December 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Breck

      I joined a fraternity in college and still maintain very strong friendships with several of my brothers. I never once saw any instance of hazing or abuse. There are always going to be some jerks out there who congregate together, but not all fraternity chapters commit these acts.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. David Crandall

    That is not hazing, that is 'felony assault inflicting serious bodily injury'. If they don't charge it that way it would be an affront to the law.

    December 9, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
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