FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) The Florence County Sheriff's Office has arrested nine men in connection to a hazing incident involving members of a fraternity formerly affiliated with Francis Marion University Thursday.
Capt. Mike Nunn, spokesman for the Florence County Sheriff's Office, said the alleged incident occurred at the home of Maurice Lavon Robinson, 34, along Rosemount Drive in Florence County on Oct. 23.
According to Nunn, all nine suspects intentionally inflicted physical harm on the victim by beating him with a paddle in order to be admitted to the fraternity. The victim reportedly suffered serious injuries and had to be hospitalized for several days.
The Florence County Sheriff's office was notified when the victim was admitted to the hospital.
"When the conduct is such that it results in serious body injury to an individual then it ceases to become an accepted admission ritual to an organization and becomes saw," said Nunn.
Francis Marion University has suspended three of the suspects, who are current FMU students, pending the results of the investigation.
"We have a policy that prohibits hazing of any kind and we hold strong to that. This was an off-campus incident, we have no control over what happens off campus but I think we've done a pretty good job controlling what happens on campus," said Angela Crosland of FMU.
Crosland says FMU has an ongoing risk management program overseeing the activities of Greek Organizations at the university.
She says the university hasn't had a problem like this and they will continue to do what they've always done with the program.
"This is just an isolated incident and we hope nothing like this ever happens again," said Crosland.
The university has suspended three of the suspects, who are current student's of FMU, pending the results of the investigation. The FMU chapter of Phi Beta Sigma has also been suspended.
Robinson and the following fellow arrestees are said to be current or former members of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity formerly affiliated with FMU:
- Uribe Raymon Norton, 22, of St. Stephens
- Jatravian Funtello Brown, 21, of Clinton
- Chappelle Marcus Smith, 23, of Florence
- Nicholas Alexander Washington, 27, of Florence
- Marcus N. Raven, 22, of Florence
- Henry James Watson, 22, of Sumter
- Miles Rukean Norton, 24, of St. Stevens
- Kevin Lequincy Cooper, 23, of Florence
Executive Director, Neil Zimmerman, of The Boys and Girls Club of the Pee Dee said that Nicholas Washington has worked with the boys and girls club for 4 years. As a result of his arrest he has been suspended from the organization and is dealing with the situation as it progresses.
Each were charged with hazing and have been released from the Florence County Detention Center on $5,000 personal recognizance bonds.
Nunn said SC law indicates that hazing is a misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to $500 in fines and/or imprisonment for up to one year.