Nine members of a Louisiana State University fraternity were arrested Thursday on hazing charges, the school told BuzzFeed News.
The students, who were Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity members, are accused of being involved in several incidents of violent and disturbing hazing activities that took place last fall.
Charles Eugene Brakenridge, 23; Blake Andrew Chalin, 20; Cade Rain Duckworth, 23; Gaston Thomas Eymard, 23; Shakti P. Gilotra, 22; Joseph Dylan Harkrider, 19; Malcolm Richard McNiece, 23; Alexander Joseph Rozas, 23; and Garrett Joseph Sanders, 21, were arrested. All but Duckworth and McNiece are enrolled at LSU this semester, the school said.
According to an affidavit obtained by BuzzFeed News, the hazing included kicking pledges in the chest with steel toe boots, beating them with a metal pipe, and making them stand in painful positions for hours on end. In one case, a pledge said he was doused with gasoline.
In another instance, a pledge was forced to “strip down to his underwear and climb into an ice machine that was half filled with water and half still frozen ice” and stay there for 30 to 45 minutes, the affidavit says. The pledge said he “did not attempt to get out of the ice machine because he felt he would have been beaten up if he did.”
After being removed from the ice machine, the pledge said he was made to lie on a basketball court covered in broken glass, where he and another pledge were “sprayed with a hose, had milk crates thrown at them, and were urinated on.”
Duckworth faces the most serious charges, with three felonies for battery and false imprisonment, as well as three charges of criminal hazing.
Eymard, McNiece, and Gilotra also face felony charges for battery.
The rest face misdemeanor charges of criminal hazing.
The school’s chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon was closed in January due to the hazing allegations.
“Our number one priority is that our chapters foster safe environments, and through our investigation, we found that the student members made choices inconsistent with the policies and values of Delta Kappa Epsilon,” DKE Executive Director Doug Lanpher said. “DKE does not tolerate this kind of behavior in the fraternity and holds its chapters and members accountable for the choices they make.”
Jason Droddy, the school’s Interim vice president for strategic communications, commended the fraternity’s national organization for quickly closing the chapter, saying it demonstrates “a growing recognition that hazing and other harmful activities cannot be tolerated.”
“This is a sad day for the university, but one that illustrates the cultural shift occurring at LSU,” Droddy said.
These are not the first arrests at LSU over hazing charges.
In 2017, 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver died in a hazing incident while pledging Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Gruver’s blood alcohol content was 0.495 at the time of his death, and an autopsy found that he accidentally died of “acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration.”
The school suspended Greek life while his death was investigated.
Ten members of the fraternity were arrested as a result, with four eventually being indicted on hazing charges. One of the members is also being charged with negligent homicide.