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Feb 28, 2014 08:46 AM EST

Six Akron Students Charged For Paddling Pledge over Several Weeks


Six students from University of Akron were charged with 1st degree misdemeanor assault and 4th degree misdemeanor hazing Thursday for allegedly beating a pledge over several weeks, resulting in his infected butt.

"Hazing of any kind is not tolerated," UA spokesperson Eileen Korey said in a statement. "As a University community we are deeply disturbed and saddened when any of our students suffer harm, and we will continue to support any victims in this pending case."

The university suspended the Alpha Tau chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity following the incident.

According to police investigation, a 21-year-old victim from Lorain County was one of the five pledges who took part in the initiation process that began Jan 6. In the course of three weeks, the men were paddled in multiple hazing incidents, Cleveland reports.

Out of concern, the victim's mother took her son to Elyria Memorial Hospital Jan. 26, where he was treated with antibiotics for his bloody buttock injuries from multiple nights of beating.

The victim initially told the hospital officials that he sustained injuries because of a sledding accident amid fears of retaliation. At the time, the victim was still interested to join the fraternity. Later, the senior at UA told police that there were 'multiple nights of beating' and 'taking wood' between Jan. 6 and Jan. 25 at off-campus locations, Akron Beacon reports.

University of Akron police have issued warrants against Steven Pitts, 23, of Norton, Rinaldo Allen Jr., 21, of Akron, J'Lani Pryce, 22, of Akron, Chauncey Gilliam, 24, of Bedford Heights, Traveon Leak, 22, of Stow and Clive Ennin, 22, of Akron after a month-long investigation.

According to the police report, most of the charged students denied hazing allegations. Leak, the chapter's president, said that he attempted to stop the paddling against the victim several times because the beatings went 'out of control.' He also told the investigators that he wanted to modify the practice of paddling recruits, according to campus police.

The victim has now planned to drop out from the fraternity.

"I know there's some kind of initiation process usually, but I wouldn't imagine you would need to haze anyone in order to enter a fraternity," said Jacob VanFossan, one of the students said, abc 5 reports.

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