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7 South Carolina students charged with hazing

The Associated Press

LEXINGTON, S.C. | Seven University of South Carolina students have been charged with hazing and will face disciplinary proceedings, school and law enforcement officials said Thursday.

The men are accused of beating another man with fists, a wooden paddle and a metal bat. The men also are accused of choked the man during a fraternity initiation at an off-campus apartment near West Columbia in October.

The Phi Beta Sigma fraternity had been suspended at the university since October “based on information we received about possible hazing,” university spokesman Russ McKinney said Thursday.

That suspension will continue, and the seven men charged will enter the university’s disciplinary process, McKinney said.

Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said detectives this week arrested Brandon Jerraud Barnes, 21, of Columbia; Brandon Jamal Bomar, 23, of Woodruff; Brandon Elijah Bradley, 22, of Dalzell; Peter Christopher Gaskins, 22, of Lake City; William Levern Henryhand, 21, of Lake City; Travis Reuben Sheffield, 24, of Georgetown; and Larry Bernard Singleton Jr., 22, of North Charleston.

Each was charged with hazing, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in prison and a $500 fine.

After he was beaten, the victim called a relative to take him to a Columbia hospital. Investigators said the victim had bruises on his upper arms, chest, feet, back and buttocks, Metts said.

The men were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon. A phone call to the sheriff’s office to determine whether they had attorneys was not immediately returned.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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