Beacon Journal staff report
Six members of a University of Akron fraternity pleaded not guilty to hazing charges Friday in Akron Municipal Court.
Steven Miles Pitts of Norton; Chauncey Gilliam of Bedford Heights; Traevon D. Leak of Stow; and Rinaldo Darius Allen Jr., Clive Ennin and Jlani D. Pryce, all of Akron, are charged with misdemeanor assault and hazing.
The members of the Alpha Tau chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity are accused of paddling a pledge so hard that he bled through his pants.
UA police said a 22-year-old pledge from Lorain County told them that he went to the hospital after multiple nights of beatings or “taking wood” — paddling — at numerous off-campus locations over three weeks in January during the fraternity’s pledge process.
The victim told UA police that he was admitted to Elyria Memorial Hospital on Jan. 26 after suffering bloody injuries to his backside.
Afraid that hospital staff would notify authorities, he initially said the injuries were from sledding.
UA police conducted a monthlong investigation of the fraternity and the university took action shortly after the investigation began to suspend the chapter.
University officials said they’ve shut down the fraternity while the national leaders of Alpha Phi Alpha said they will help authorities bring justice to anyone who may have violated the law.
UA police previously investigated the fraternity after tips of hazing surfaced in 2007 and 2008 but no charges were filed.
Alpha Phi Alpha has 16 other college chapters and eight alumni chapters in Ohio, according to its website.