Hazing Victim Sues Sorority, University for Negligence

SAN JOSE, Calif.—A former sorority pledge of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority chapter at San Jose State University, who was repeatedly beaten and paddled during an initiation process, has filed a negligence lawsuit against the university, the sorority and various sorority members.

In court documents, Courtney Howard, 20, said she pledged the sorority in late-2008 because she believed that it “represented the ‘sisterhood’ she sought in a sorority.” However, in her complaint, Howard stated that she and fellow pledges were slapped, kicked, slammed into walls, struck with a wooden spoon and cane and had books and coins thrown at them during 16 late night sessions, according to TheSmokingGun.com. Additionally, the pledges were frequently hit with a wooden paddle, which resulted in welts on her buttocks.

Howard reported that the pledge line was not allowed to speak with family or friends about the initiation process. Furthermore, the pledges were told that if they told anyone or failed to participate in any pledge activities, they would be attacked by sorority members. The plaintiff also said that when she reported the hazing to police and university officials, sorority members harassed and threatened her.

Four sorority members, who are listed as defendants in the lawsuit, pleaded no contest earlier this year to misdemeanor hazing charges in connection with the incident. Princess Odom, Monique Hughes, Joslyn Beard and Nicole Remble were each sentenced to 90 days in jail. Additionally, the quartet must serve two years of court probation and are barred from involvement with any sorority.

The chapter has been suspended on the campus as a result of the hazing.

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