FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Three members of Francis Marion University’s baseball team have been charged with hazing following an investigation, authorities said.
According to information from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, 21-year-old Jon Mitchell Carter, of Hamer; 21-year-old David Tyler Mangum, of Durham, N.C.; and 21-year-old Noah Hunter Jones, of Greenville, N.C. were all arrested March 6 and charged with hazing.
Investigators said that FMU officials requested that an investigation be opened into the possible hazing of players on the university’s baseball team.
According to arrest warrants obtained by WMBF, FCSO said the events allegedly happened at the address coinciding with the Patriot Place Apartments, a complex across the street from the college.
The three suspects are accused of “intentionally (striking) an underclassmen member of the baseball program for the purpose of initiation.”
One underclassman player suffered a broken jaw, according to arrest warrants.
The three suspects were released from the Florence County Detention Center on March 6 on $1,000 personal recognizance bonds.
Online court records show the players’ court dates are set for April 29.
FMU spokesperson Tucker Mitchell said the three players were suspended from the baseball team as soon as the Feb. 5 incident came to light. Last week, they were suspended from the university, he added.
According to Mitchell, whether or not the three will remain suspended from the university depends on the outcome of the case.
Mitchell also said that the underclassman who had been injured had returned to class last week.
FMU released a statement on the incident, which is below:
“The Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigated this incident at the behest of FMU and, as always, we appreciate their assistance.
This event took place off campus and was neither sanctioned nor condoned by FMU coaches or university personnel.
The actions described resulted from a reckless, immature Saturday evening drinking game at an unauthorized party off campus. FMU is disappointed at what transpired, and at the lack of judgment demonstrated. The University takes this very seriously.
The alleged actions violate FMU’s long-standing code of student conduct, as well as specific policies governing the behavior of FMU athletes. All FMU athletes review those policies with their coaches at the start of each semester and sign a document acknowledging that they understand the policies and the implications of violating them. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, all FMU athletes signed a COVID-19 pledge, indicating that they would avoid social gatherings and other risky behavior.
Accordingly, as soon as the sheriff’s office informed the university of the results of its investigation, all three students named in the investigation were suspended from the university and will remain so, pending disposition of these charges.”
The university’s student handbook shows that hazing is considered a university violation. Students who are found to commit prohibited student conduct can be subject to sanctions that range from “written reprimand, loss of privileges, removal from campus residential facilities, restitution, education sanctions, probation, suspension, expulsion, or other University sanctions and/or conditions.”
Hazing is also considered a misdemeanor in the state of South Carolina, which carries a penalty of “a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for a term not to exceed twelve months, or both.”