Thursday, March 13, 2008
XENIA â€” A former Central State University student is suing the school and a fraternity for hazing and seeking $12 million in damages after he was allegedly struck with a wooden paddle 83 times.
In a lawsuit filed March 5 in Greene County Common Pleas Court, Willie Dow, of Dayton, alleges members of the Kappa Kappa Psi fraternity paddled him on repeated occasions between November 2005 and April 2006 while he was a “pledge” for the organization.
The hazing culminated April 15, 2006, when Dow says he was hit 83 times with a wooden paddle during a “horrific” 11-hour initiation. “It caused extreme trauma to his buttocks and kidneys,” said Christopher Cooper, Dow’s attorney.
Dow was treated for his injuries at Miami Valley Hospital and at least seven Central State students were criminally charged with hazing, a misdemeanor, in Xenia Municipal Court.
Four students later pleaded guilty to reduced charges of disorderly conduct and three cases were dismissed. The university suspended six students for one year.
At the time Dow was paddled, the fraternity chapter was already on probation for hazing. Kappa Kappa Psi, a honorary band fraternity, closed its Central State chapter shortly after the incident.
Dow’s suit names 12 individuals, including fraternity members, former university band director Brian Milsapp and Alan L. Bonner, a statutory agent of the fraternity based in Stillwater, Okla. Unnamed “John and Jane Doe” administrators or employees of Central State University also are included.
A similar suit was filed by Dow in a Cincinnati federal court in October 2007 and is pending.
The hazing incidents occurred on campus, and the university and fraternity was negligent, Cooper said. “The university had a duty to protect students from incidents of hazing,” he said.
Fran Robinson, university spokeswoman, declined to comment about the lawsuit as did Alan L. Bonner from the fraternity’s national headquarters.
Cincinnati attorney B. Scott Jones, who represents the fraternity, said the organization does not tolerate hazing and will file court papers in response to the suit in the next 10 days.
“Kappa Kappa Psi has a strict policy against hazing. They don’t condone it. They didn’t condone hazing in this instance,” he said.