FAMU Hazing Victim Suing the School

Separately, while investigating Robert Champion’s death, authorities uncovered possible fraud and misconduct by university workers.

Posted: 12/14/2011 03:55 PM EST

The Florida A & M University student and band member who came forward to reveal that she too was hazed just weeks prior to the death of drum major Robert Champion is now suing the school.

 

Bria Shante Hunter, who filed charges against the three members who broke her thigh in an alleged hazing incident, has been harassed since reporting the beating to band director Julian White, said her attorney B.J. Bernstein. As a result, the freshman is pulling out of the university and forfeiting her $82,000 scholarship.

 

"For any person who is subject to hazing, this is a big reason they do not come forward," said Bernstein.

 

On Tuesday, the three young men accused of beating Hunter so badly that she was admitted to the hospital for blood clots in her legs and a cracked femur, appeared in court. Sean Hobson, 23, and Aaron Golson, 19, who are charged with hazing and felony battery, received a bond set at $10,000. James Harris, 22, charged with hazing, received a set bond of $2,500. They have all posted bail and have been released from jail.

 

On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, the three students allegedly struck Hunter’s legs as a part of initiating her into a band clique for students from Georgia known as the “Red Dawg Order.” She reported that she was beaten at least three times over the course of the semester.

 

Court documents state that Hobson sent a text message to Hunter and others saying, "I apologize for the hurt I put you through. I apologize for the mental and physical strain that you have endured …" He has since denied sending the message.

 

The beatings came only about three weeks before the death of 26-year-old Robert Champion, a drum major for the historically Black college’s famed marching band, the Marching 100, who died only hours after performing at the annual Florida Classic football game. Four students and the band director, who are all alleged to have direct or indirect involvement in Champion’s death, have not received disciplinary action at the request of the Florida Department of Law (FDLE), who asked that the investigation be finished first.

 

Separately, in letters Florida authorities sent to the head of the FAMU board and head of the state university system on Tuesday, the department of law enforcement revealed that they uncovered possible employee fraud and misconduct when looking into what is believed to be the hazing death of Champion.

 

An FDLE spokesman would not discuss the investigation, but confirmed that it would be handled separately from the Nov. 19 death of Champion. 

 

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(Photo: AP Photo/Tampa Tribune, Joseph Brown III)

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