BAKERSFIELD (AP) — Four students at California State University, Bakersfield, were beaten with paddles, canes and whips and shot with a BB pellet gun in a series of college hazing incidents, according to newly released court documents.
Five students and alumni were arrested in late April in connection with initiation ceremonies to join a nonuniversity sanctioned fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, The Bakersfield Californian reported Thursday.
The suspects, ages 21 to 24, were booked on suspicion of torture, conspiracy, hazing and assault with a deadly weapon, but within days prosecutors returned the case to police for more investigation, and the suspects were released, the newspaper said.
The Bakersfield Police Department said Wednesday the investigation was ongoing.
In an email to The Associated Press on Thursday, Richard Lee Snow, executive director of Philadelphia-based Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., said his organization “does not condone hazing in any shape, form or fashion.”
“It is an illegal activity and those that participate in it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Snow said. “Naturally, we are hopeful that anyone who was injured during this unfortunate situation fully recovers in a timely manner.”
The Philadelphia-based fraternity is investigating the allegations and cannot comment on the specifics of the case, Snow said.
An official with Kappa Alpha Psi’s Bakersfield chapter did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment.
The four people were abused on 23 occasions over several weeks, according to the search and arrest warrants filed in Kern County Superior Court.
One victim, Brent McClanahan Jr., 25, was rushed to Mercy Hospital after collapsing at home April 6. His body was bruised and swollen, he couldn’t walk and doctors determined he had herniated and ruptured discs in his back, court records show.
His father, Brent McClanahan Sr., told the newspaper his son now uses a walker to move around and has physical therapy three times a week. He wouldn’t comment on the case.
The Bakersfield chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi was sanctioned by the university from 1997 to 2007 and in 2009. Its chapter standing was revoked for low membership and denied renewal in 2010, the newspaper said.
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