Bowie State Student Sues Frat For Hazing

BOWIE, Md. (WJZ) — A renowned fraternity is in hot water, facing a $3 million lawsuit after a Bowie State student says he was hazed while he was pledging—and he has pictures of the abuse to prove it.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the lawsuit against Alpha Phi Alpha.

A 17-page lawsuit details how the student—a junior at Bowie State—says he was punched and paddled by other fraternity members.

Photos show the injuries 20-year-old Kevin Hayes says he sustained while pledging Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Bowie State University.

“It broke me down. It’s something I never felt before,” he said.

He says his punishers were other fraternity members.

“Something must happen so no one else has to deal with these issues,” Hayes said.

In the lawsuit, Hayes says nights of pledging could last five to eight hours, where he was “punched, hit and slapped.”

“They have a duty under Maryland law to make him safe,” said Jimmy Bell, his attorney.

In a statement, fraternity officials said, “Any member found violating the fraternity anti-hazing policy will be immediately suspended with recommendation for expulsion.”

Bowie State University—which is not named in the lawsuit—did release a statement on the hazing allegation. In that statement, officials say, “Bowie State University has a stringent anti-hazing policy that is coupled with a strong anti-hazing education program. The university considers hazing to be indefensible and contrary to the interest of the university community.”

The alleged hazing incident took place between September 2013 until November. One night, Hayes says an older fraternity member went through Hayes’ phone and found a photo someone took of Hayes’ injuries.

“They began to say `You’re a snitch; you’re always talking. We are going to blackball you.’ They began to ostracize me,” Hayes said.

The lawsuit says Hayes and other pledges were often given jewel shockers, back racks, and fat joes, as well as taking wood during the pledging process.

“This type of stuff, it kills people and it needs to stop,” Bell said.

The alleged incidents of hazing happened off-campus.

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