Three FMU students and six former students were arrested Thursday by the Florence County Sheriff’s Office in connection with an off-campus hazing incident on Oct. 23 which resulted in the hospitalization of one student.
The sheriff’s office said the students were charged due to an alleged hazing that took place at 421 Rosemount Drive in Florence, which is a residence located in a subdivision off of South Irby Street.
A sheriff’s office press release stated the suspects allegedly beat the victim with a paddle “to such an extent as to have resulted in serious bodily injury requiring an extended stay at an area hospital.”
Media General’s SC Now news site reported the victim “was paddled so severely, his buttocks bled and he suffered kidney damage that required hospitalization two days later.”
All of the suspects are current or alumni-status members of FMU’s chapter of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
According to the sheriff’s office, the following suspects were charged with one count of hazing each: Maurice Robinson, 34; Nicholas Washington, 27; Miles Norton, 24; Chappelle Smith, 23; Kevin Cooper, 23; Uribe Norton, 22; Marcus Raven, 22; Henry Watson, 22; and Jatravian Brown, 21. The release lists Robinson as living at the address where the alleged incident took place.
Hazing is a misdemeanor crime punishable by a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. The suspects appeared before a Florence County Magistrate and were released on $5,000 personal recognizance bonds.
The allegations in the arrest warrants stated “that the suspects, each individually and collectively committed the hazing by intentionally inflicting physical harm upon the victim in order for the victim to gain admission to the fraternity.”
FMU spokesperson Angela Crosland said in a statement that the chapter has been suspended both by FMU and the national Phi Beta Sigma fraternity as a result of the allegations.
“The Francis Marion University Police Department was notified when a student sought medical treatment,” Crosland said. “FMU officials and the university police have been working with the sheriff’s office in the investigation of this incident.”
The identity of the victim has not been released by the sheriff’s office.