Court date for the seven arrested Pi Kappa Alpha members set for Feb. 28
Published 1:16 pm Thursday, December 9, 2021
An arraignment date for the seven members of the recently suspended Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at the University of Mississippi arrested for cyberstalking has been set for February 28, 2022 after they were accused of using social media to harass a former frat member who reported the organization for hazing.
The seven students have not been indicted. A Lafayette County grand jury will likely hear the cases when they meet in early February and determine whether any crimes were committed.
The fraternity members were arrested Friday after turning themselves in on cyberstalking charges, according to Lafayette County Justice Court records. They were released after a judge set bond for $5,000 each.
The students are accused of using social media to harass a former fraternity member who reported an incident of hazing at the fraternity house. University of Mississippi officials said then they suspended a student in the case. On Nov. 17, 2020, university police charged a fraternity member with aggravated assault.
After the incident, the 158-member chapter was sanctioned, meaning members had to sign an anti-hazing agreement and receive anti-hazing education.
The fraternity was then suspended from campus until 2025 last month after another hazing incident was reported, breaking the agreement.
In a letter to the university fraternity and sorority members, Dean of Students Brent Marsh said they had hoped for a favorable outcome when entering the January 2021 agree, but failure to abide the agreement made suspension the only option.
“We hope that our entire fraternity and sorority community can use this as an opportunity for learning and growth,” Marsh said. “If Pi Kappa Alpha seeks to return to the university in the future, we hope that its members will strive to uphold the organization’s mission to develop men of integrity, intellect, success, and high moral character.”
The 20-year-old student who reported the 2021 hazing incident was one of the students who was hazed during the first incident last October. His mother, Robyn Yerger, told the Clarion Ledger he reported the 2021 incident after seeing photos of the hazing on social media.
Yerger said her son has since left the university and enrolled virtually at a community college, but he is still recovering from the physical and emotional toll of what he experienced. As a result of ingesting bleach, he was diagnosed with Grade 4 severe erosive esophagitis.
Days after the injury, he was unable to speak and had trouble eating, according to court documents. Weeks later when the student went home, family members saw he lost 50 pounds and was struggling to eat.
In October, the Clarion Ledger reported that he filed a civil lawsuit in October against The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, Gamma Iota chapter of Ole Miss, officers of the chapter and others, requesting a jury trial and $10 million in damages.
The 20-year-old requests a jury trial and is seeking $10 million in damages on numerous counts, including negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and premises liability against the Gamma Iota House that manages the chapter house.
Jay Carmean, an Oxford-based attorney representing four of the students, declined to comment on the case to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Court records did not name an attorney for the other three students.
The University has declined to make an further statements during the ongoing investigations and are complying with law enforcement on the case.