The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has been indicted on a hazing charge in connection with a 2016 case at the University of Houston in which pledge members allegedly were deprived of adequate food, water and sleep.
KHOU-TV reports that the charge results from investigations by the Harris County District Attorney's Office and the University of Houston, which has suspended the fraternity from campus until 2023.
According to the Harris County prosecutors, the charge was filed against the Tennessee-based Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity Inc., whose members are known by students as Pikes.
The indictment focuses on the alleged treatment of one pledge from Nov. 17 to 20, 2016. It says the pledge was forced to roll around in vomit, spit and feces, as well as going without food and drink and sleep.
The pledge suffered a ruptured spleen and had to be hospitalized.
"Memberships in fraternities and sororities should be about brotherhood and sisterhood — it's not about these sorts of activities that don't build them up or support the rituals or values that these organizations originally stood for," Assistant District Attorney Jim Leitner says.
The University of Houston released the following statement following the indictment:
"In October, the University of Houston took administrative action to suspend the UH chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity for activities that violate the University hazing policy, which is consistent with the Texas Education Code. For the last several months, the UH Police Department has coordinated with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in investigating these activities, which revealed violations that occurred off campus. Today we are grateful that our county partners have delivered a stern message through the grand jury’s decision against the fraternity, that such behavior, which jeopardizes the well being of our students, will not be tolerated. Our University takes pride in the camaraderie and well-rounded experience of our students, and for many that includes participating in fraternity and sorority life. We take seriously our responsibility to train our fraternities and sororities to adhere to University policy and laws against hazing and the need to conduct themselves in a safe manner."
Video from KHOU-TV: