Wilmington fraternity hazing ritual leaves pledge permanently injured

WILMINGTON, Ohio -- Some fraternity members at Wilmington College could face charges after a pledge was permanently injured during a hazing ritual.

Wilmington police issued a search warrant after the Halloween night incident, prompting an investigation of the Gamma Phi Gamma fraternity and its hazing conduct.

Three pledges were being inducted into the fraternity on Halloween night, while 20 members watched and participated.

Court documents obtained from Clinton County said the three pledges were blindfolded, told to get on the floor and make swimming motions in three inches of water. It happened in the basement of the Gamma Phi Gamma house.

Next, they stood naked and had Icy Hot applied to their bodies while the other members took knot-tied towels and snapped the bare pledges.

One pledge was hit in the groin so hard that he had to undergo surgery at Clinton Memorial Hospital.

President of Wilmington College Jim Reynolds said that conduct is unacceptable.

"It's hard to understand why," he said, "at a college like this that we could have an incident like that when we don't or would never condone that type of activity."

In fact, Wilmington College requires that all fraternities complete anti-hazing education before rush season begins.

"They sign a release saying they have had that education and have been educated on anti-hazing, and then pledges also sign an additional card saying they're going to go through the pledging process," Reynolds said.

Wilmington police will later present their findings to the prosecutor to review. Meanwhile, Wilmington College planned its own internal review.

"For the individuals could range from on-campus suspension to off-campus suspension to even expulsion," Reynolds said.

As for the fraternity, it could face social probation, social suspension or even a revocation of its charter.

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