A hazy hazing case at Arkansas Tech 

A fraternity pledge spent nearly a month at UAMS.

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The criminal trial of Bradley, Bender and Williams is scheduled for Sept. 24. Scoggins still doesn't know what the out-of-pocket costs will total for his UAMS stay, but he has sought legal help and is considering suits against the national organization, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., as well as his individual assailants. The relationship between cousins Bradley and Scoggins is likely to be mined by the defense.

Humphrey maintains that Bradley never laid a hand on Scoggins. "Battery is a criminal action, and Deonte is not guilty of battery on anybody. And there are no allegations that he's even hit anybody ... we have not heard from DeShawn on any allegations," he said. But Scoggins has tried to contact Bradley, as recently as last Tuesday, via a series of friendly texts that Humphrey has advised Bradley to ignore, because at the preliminary hearing, the judge issued a no-contact order.

"DeShawn isn't sure what went on," said Scoggins' attorney, Tony Walker. "We know that he was blindfolded and he was beaten severely with canes. There were a lot of people, a lot of canes and a lot of abuse. Any implication that DeShawn can say exactly what happened to him is ridiculous. But let's say, for instance that Deonte actually didn't lay a hand on him. If he facilitated the whole thing, what difference does that make?"

"I don't think anyone can argue that Deonte had no role in this," Walker said. "The prosecutor charged him and picked him up first."

Following his arrest, Bradley was expelled from Arkansas Tech for breaking an anti-hazing clause in the school's code of conduct. (Bender and Williams were students at the University of Central Arkansas in April, but are no longer.) "It's urgent for my client to have the opportunity to go before a disciplinary committee and not be thrown out of school," Humphrey said. "He has only 15 hours that he needs to graduate [with a B.S. in psychology and criminal justice]. ... He wasn't even given an opportunity to show up and be heard by the university," Humphrey said.

Bradley missed his preliminary disciplinary conference because he was being held by the Pope County sheriff's office. He did not attend the second hearing, because Humphrey requested that the school reschedule the preliminary conference first. Humphrey wonders why Arkansas Tech didn't discipline Scoggins, as well. "The fact of the matter is that DeShawn Scoggins is still in school at Arkansas Tech ... why is he in school, if he also participated in hazing?" he said. According to a report by a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. investigator, there were 16 people present at the fraternity meeting, including five Tech students. Thus far, Bradley is the only Tech student charged in the case.

This isn't the first bad press that KAP chapters have received, and the traditional "kappa cane" seems to play a frequent role in hazing cases. Since the fraternity's inception in 1911, the "kappa cane" has been carried as a mark of stature, and in more recent decades as a prop in step-dancing performances. But in 2012 alone, KAP members at the University of Florida, at Ohio's Youngstown State University, at Texas's Jarvis Christian College and at Florida A&M have been charged or investigated for beating pledges with canes. In 2011, KAP members at California State–Bakersfield were charged with beating pledges with canes and shooting them with BB guns and a pellet pistol. In 2010 Eric Walker, a Wayne State University student, sued Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. after a paddling put him in the hospital with kidney failure. Scoggins is the third KAP pledge in as many years to claim kidney damage from these beatings.

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