AKRON, Ohio - All six University of Akron students involved in a fraternity hazing investigation surrendered to Akron University police.
The students were released and will appear in court March 7 at 1 p.m.
Six arrest warrants were issued and a fraternity was suspended Thursday morning following a possible hazing incident involving a pledge getting paddled multiple times, according to university police.
The suspects, members of Alpha Phi Alpha located at 249 Spicer St. on campus, were charged with assault, a first degree misdemeanor, and hazing, a fourth degree misdemeanor.
Investigators identified the suspects as Steven M. Pitts, Rinaldo D. Allen, J'Lani D. Pryce, Chauncey S. Gilliam, Clive Ennin and Traveon D. Leak.
According to a police report, a 21-year-old male was admitted to the hospital after he was paddled in multiple hazing incidents between Jan. 6 and Jan. 25 at off-campus locations.
The man said that he was paddled repeatedly, and that two or three times, the chapter president had to step in because the beatings were "out of control."
The victim told University of Akron police that he suffered injuries from multiple nights of beating and was bleeding from his buttocks.
According to an investigative report, his mother told him home to come home one weekend. She told him she "could smell the infection" and took him to the hospital.
He was treated for an infection and given IV antibiotics at Elyria Memorial Medical Center, according to the report.
Police say the man initially told hospital staff that his injuries were the result of a sledding accident, because he feared repercussions and still wanted to be a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.
Contacted by phone on Thursday, the alleged victim said he has dropped out of the fraternity and declined to make any further comment because he didn't want to "draw attention to himself."
Many students expressed concern for the victim as word of the hazing investigation spread across campus.
"I know there's some kind of initiation process usually, but I wouldn't imagine you would need to haze anyone in order to enter a fraternity," said Jacob VanFossan.
"I'm sure that it just got way out of hand too fast as these things do," said Karlie Lieberth.
Cardale Henderson lives with two of the suspects and was very surprised by the charges.
"I don't think they're bad guys like assaulting people and stuff, I doubt it," Henderson said.
The University of Akron released the following statement:
The criminal charges being filed today are the result of an investigation by The University of Akron Police Department (UAPD), acting on an anonymous tip. Based on the information gathered during the investigation, the University suspended the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity on January 31, essentially halting all fraternity activities, including new member intake. Hazing of any kind is not tolerated. As a University community we are deeply disturbed and saddened when any of our students suffer harm, and we will continue to support any victims in this pending case. As the case is now in the hands of the Prosecutor, we will not comment further on the specific criminal charges.
Pryce is a member of the track team and has been suspended.