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Phi Beta Sigma arrests

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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

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of 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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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