12 News Investigates: Hazing incident at Ole Miss fraternity

12 News Investigates

OXFORD, Miss. (WJTV) – A member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at the University of Mississippi has been charged with aggravated assault after a hazing incident.

A pledge, who dropped out and anonymously reported the hazing incident to police, said he was in the hallway of the fraternity house while other pledges were squatting against the wall. He saw an active member grab a bottle of bleach or surface cleaner and started spraying a few pledges. According to the report, bleach got into one of the pledge’s eyes.

Attorney Adam Peavey represents another pledge, who was sprayed in the mouth and threw up.

“One individual was yelling if anyone was thirsty or wanted water, and Jackson, he lost 50 pounds. He was a relatively big guy, and he wanted some water, and he had a coat tie or tie wrapped around his eyes,” stated Peavey.

Peavy said he was blindfolded and poisoned, and the hazing happened on October 11.

Afterwards, the attorney said his client tried dealing with everything on his own but had a hard time swallowing and keeping food down.

“His recollection at the time was that it was a Clorox bleach bottle, and when it went down, it just causes corrosive effects,” said Peavy.

Family members gave 12 News medical records showing injuries to Jackson’s esophagus, and Peavy said he doesn’t have a good prognosis.

“It’s possible he could undergo a relocation of the esophagus to the stomach,” said Peavy.

The former pledge is still in school at Ole Miss. The interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs released the following statement:

I am outraged by this incident, and we extend our heartfelt support and deepest sympathy to the victim. Upon learning last fall of the severity of this incident, our staff referred the matter for investigation by the University Police Department, which referred it for criminal prosecution.”

Charlotte Fant Pegues, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

James Higgins has been charged with aggravated assault.

The university also placed the chapter on interim suspension and worked with the national office of Pi Kappa Alpha to hold students accountable. So far, one student from the university has been suspended. The chancellor says they have been supporting the victim and his family in various ways throughout the past few months.

Ben Creekmore, the district attorney, said they will be reviewing the matter with the University of Mississippi Police Department to figure out how the matter should be handled.

Peavy said based on their investigation they plan on suing Pi Kappa Alpha. Pike says the person involved in the incident has been expelled from the fraternity, and the victim is a member.

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