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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Frat Hazing Damages Pledge’s Kidneys

MARSHALL, Texas (CN) - A student at Jarvis Christian College claims fraternity members damaged his kidneys and opened wounds on his butt by beating him with heavy wooden paddles, then welcomed him to the fraternity's "'Century Club' ... reserved for those who could withstand at least 100 blows during this initiation process."

Xavier Foster sued Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and four of its members - Sadallie "CJ" Cole, Waymon Humphrey, Bruce Nance and Omar McElroy - in Federal Court.

Foster says when he enrolled in the Christian college in Hawkins, Texas in August 2009, friends and coaches encouraged him to pledge membership with Kappa Alpha Psi.

He says at the on-campus "intake meeting," fraternity members and school representatives went over the pledge process and told him "the sole requirements for membership in Kappa Alpha Psi were a minimum grade point average, approval by current members and successful completion of a written examination on the history, rituals and traditions of the fraternity."

At that meeting, Foster says, frat members and school officials said they did not tolerate "physical or psychological hazing of pledges."

Foster says he fulfilled all requirements to join the fraternity by paying membership fees, and passing its written exam on April 24, 2010.

But his new brothers had other plans for him, Foster says, and on April 30, 2010 a frat member told him to report to CJ Cole's apartment in Hawkins for further initiation into the national fraternity and its local chapter.

"There, defendants CJ Cole, Keith Humphrey and Bruce 'BJ' Nance physically and psychologically assaulted Foster," the complaint states. "These defendants stood at attention and peppered him with questions regarding the history, traditions and rituals of the fraternity, punctuating each incorrect answer with blows from heavy wooden paddles and rods.

"CJ Cole, Keith Humphrey and Bruce 'BJ' Nance further represented to Foster that membership in the fraternity's 'Century Club' was reserved for those who could withstand at least 100 blows during this initiation process."

Later that evening, Foster says, the defendants ordered him to report to a second apartment in Hawkins for more initiation.

There Cole, Humphrey and Nance were joined by the frat's "dean of pledges" Omar McElroy, and they all set to "striking Foster about his legs and buttocks with paddles, rods and boards for approximately two more hours," according to the complaint.

"Finally, after more than five hours of non-stop beatings, verbal and psychological abuse," the four frat members welcomed him into Kappa Alpha Psi, and "pronounced him a member of exclusive the 'Century Club.'"

The complaint continues: "Within days of the beatings, Foster began to succumb to his injuries. His legs and buttocks were predictably inflamed and swollen. More unexpectedly, he began to suffer nausea, cramping in his hands and feet and loss of appetite. He began to vomit and could not eat.

"On May 3, 2010, Foster's family doctor diagnosed Foster with acute renal failure and admitted him to the hospital where doctors confirmed the admitting diagnosis through a kidney biopsy and began an immediate course of dialysis. In the meantime, the wounds on Foster's buttocks had grown so severe that they ruptured and required complete debridement and ongoing treatment of a wound care specialist."

He was released from the hospital 8 days later, but needed "continued medication and monitoring of his kidney function and a wound vacuum for the still-healing wounds on his buttocks."

"Since his release, Foster has undergone surgery to place skin grafts over the wounds on his buttocks.

"The damage to Foster's kidneys was so severe that he now suffers from a permanent loss of 10 percent of his renal function. As a result, doctors have placed him on three separate medications to control his blood pressure to prevent further damage to his kidneys.

"Foster continues to be under the care of physicians because of the injuries inflicted on him. He is at increased risk of future kidney damage. He has pain with sitting for long periods of time. His legs and buttocks are scarred and disfigured."

He seeks damages and punitive damages for negligence, gross negligence, assault and battery, and pain and suffering.

He is represented by James Holmes of Henderson, Texas.

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