Ole Miss Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity members arrested on cyberstalking charges

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Seven members of University of Mississippi’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, suspended from campus last month, were arrested Friday on cyberstalking charges, according to Lafayette County Detention Center officials.

The Clarion Ledger reported Baylor Reynolds, Christian Parten, Cole Goretski, Miles Baker, Peyton Newcomb, Walker Holden and Wyatt Johnson are accused of sending harassing emails and text messages to a former fraternity member who reported to the university hazing at the fraternity house in the fall, according to detention center officials.

All posted $5,000 bond after an initial court appearance and were released Friday, according to detention center officials.

Their next court date is scheduled for Feb. 22 in Lafayette County Circuit Court, according to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office.

The university is cooperating with law enforcement regarding the issue but cannot comment on an on-going investigation.

“As is evidenced by the suspension of all operations of the Gamma Iota chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha of the University of Mississippi effective until May 1, 2025, hazing and related behavior, including cyberstalking, that put student health and safety at risk are contrary to the University of Mississippi Creed and will not be tolerated,” Lisa Stone reported to The Clarion Ledger.

Pi Kappa Alpha’s Gamma Iota chapter was on probationary status following a hazing incident in fall 2020 where several pledges had bleached sprayed in their mouths or on their faces.

After a second incident, the fraternity was suspended from campus in November 2021 until 2025.

The person who reported the most recent hazing had bleach sprayed into his mouth during the 2020 hazing incident. He reported the 2021 incident after seeing photos of the hazing on social media, the 20-year-old’s mother Robyn Yerger said. That report prompted an additional investigation into Pi Kappa Alpha by the university and The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity.

The 20-year-old received text messages from fraternity members containing violence, racism and anti-semitic content after the 2021 incident was reported, Yerger said. A name has not been released due to the individual’s status as an alleged victim.

“You never think this could happen to your child,” Yerger told the Ledger.

The 20-year-old continues to suffer from physical and mental health issues related to the 2020 hazing incident, Yerger said. He is no longer attending the university and is taking classes at a local community college.

James Bowes Higgins, the student accused of spraying bleach into the 20-year-old’s mouth, was indicted for aggravated assault by a Lafayette County grand jury in May.

Higgins’ lawyer, Swayze Alford, was not immediately available for comment.