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Saturday, May 21, 2022

State Attorney's Office to file hazing charges against 13 Kappa Alpha Psi members

Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect a correction.

The State Attorney’s Office announced Friday that it is filing hazing charges against 13 members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

The hazing, which included chest slaps, forced exercise and spankings with canes, allegedly occurred during a nine-month stretch that ended in January 2011. Of the 13 members charged, four were still students earlier this semester: Justin D. Kelly, a 21-year-old industrial systems engineering major, Al’ikens Plancher, a 21-year-old linguistics major, Jeffrey A. Rugon, a 22-year-old industrial systems engineering senior, and Bernard C. Williams, a 27-year-old sports management continuing education student.

Rugon also worked with the IT department at the Reitz Union. He has since been fired.

The 13 members charged with hazing are banned from stepping foot on campus, UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said. UPD officers started investigating the fraternity on Feb. 13, and the KAP national organization ordered the UF chapter to disband soon after.

Police learned about hazing among KAP members while looking into a similar case concerning the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, UPD spokesman Maj. Brad Barber said. KAP and APA are members of UF’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, which consists of nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities.

A former KAP recruit told police the hazing began on April 23, 2010, during a meeting at a Cottage Grove apartment. After three recruits recited information they were ordered to learn, members spanked them with canes, the recruit said.

After that meeting, members were spanked on about five or six more occasions, one recruit told police. Each time, recruits received between 30 and 150 spanks with canes. Sometimes, KAP members broke their tools over their victims’ bottoms, and one recruit remembers the beatings left marks on his backside from the hooks of the canes.

Recruits also had to buy food, alcohol and other items for members. According to an expense report obtained by police, recruits spent about $2,000 during a six-month stretch.

KAP members also slapped them on their chests and backs, and they forced recruits to do push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and wall sits.

Multiple sources told police that all 13 men charged either beat recruits or watched as the hazing occurred.

Contact Tyler Jett at tjett@alligator.org.

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