An alleged night of violent and racist hazing at a University of Alabama fraternity which already resulted in a five-count lawsuit has now brought criminal charges against at least one of the students reportedly responsible.

As the Thread previously reported, a freshman Honors student who was moving onto the Tuscaloosa campus last August says he suffered a traumatic brain injury and more while he was hazed at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house on campus.

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That lawsuit, originally filed in Jefferson County where many defendants live, has since been transferred to the Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court, where Judge Brad Almond oversees it.

As outlined in the lawsuit and the original story, the complainant in the lawsuit alleges an active member of the Greek organization reportedly ordered the pledge to come to the SAE house and "snort a white powdery substance" on one of his first nights on campus.

When the new student refused to do so, he was allegedly forced into the basement of the house and beaten while others blocked his exit and threatened worse if he escaped.

The lawsuit claims when the pledge was finally allowed to leave the basement, he was forced into a kiddie pool and hosed down with water. The lawsuit says active members told the pledge he had to yell a racial epithet at a passing Black student, and when the pledge allegedly refused, he was sprayed in the mouth for an extended period.

Finally, according to the lawsuit, the incoming student was ordered to run exhausting "suicide" drills in the SAE courtyard and then forced to do pushups where, in that defenseless position, an active member "threw with great force a basketball at [his] head. [The pledge] lost consciousness, seeing stars, and suffering a traumatic brain injury."

After the complainant was dropped off at a dorm on campus, he went to the emergency room and was reportedly diagnosed with a concussion, TBI and a strained deltoid.

On Monday, the alleged hazing moved outside of civil court alone - one of the active members named in the lawsuit has now been charged with one count of misdemeanor harassment and one count of criminal hazing.

The charge is filed as a violation of Alabama Code 16-1-23, which gives a specific definition for hazing.

(a) Hazing is defined as follows:

Any willful action taken or situation created, whether on or off any school, college, university, or other educational premises, which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health of any student, or

(2) Any willful act on or off any school, college, university, or other educational premises by any person alone or acting with others in striking, beating, bruising, or maiming; or seriously offering, threatening, or attempting to strike, beat, bruise, or maim, or to do or seriously offer, threaten, or attempt to do physical violence to any student of any such educational institution or any assault upon any such students made for the purpose of committing any of the acts, or producing any of the results to such student as defined in this section.

Although this situation has now led to criminal charges and others may follow, it remains the general policy of the Tuscaloosa Thread only to identify suspects accused of felonies by name except in extremely extenuating circumstances.

Because the active member charged this week is only facing two Class C misdemeanor charges, he will not be identified in this report at this time. Each charge carries a possible sentence of 3 months in jail or a fine up to $500.

Alex House, the associate director of communications at the University of Alabama, said she could not answer questions about whether other arrests have occurred or are expected.

"The University of Alabama has zero tolerance for hazing, as the well-being of our students is our top priority. Students and student organizations must adhere to University policy, which strictly prohibits hazing, the Code of Student Conduct and state of Alabama law. Any reports of hazing are taken seriously and fully investigated, which includes coordination with law enforcement as appropriate," she said. "This chapter was placed on disciplinary probation through the end of the Fall Semester 2024 with educational sanctions and loss of privileges as well as sanctions issued in partnership with its national organization. Federal privacy laws limit our ability to share information regarding individual sanctions/disciplinary actions. Any student aware of suspected hazing is encouraged to report it and visit our website at to learn more about hazing prevention."

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