Mar 7, 2011

 
 
 
 
Seven former and current members of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority were formally charged with assault and hazing last week after allegedly beating and severely bruising a former pledge at the University of Maryland.
 
According to court documents, Lavisha McClarin said she was choked, shoved into a wall and hit on her buttocks with an oak paddle by the sorority members on more than one occasion.
 
She says the assaults took place at two different locations - an apartment complex in Adelphi, Maryland and at a home in Bladensberg, Maryland owned by one of the accused sorority members, Kandyce Jackson, 32.
 
Both alleged attacks occurred in October 2010, and after the second hazing incident, McClarin reported the attacks to the University of Maryland and withdrew from the historically black sorority. The university suspended Zeta Phi Beta indefinitely in November 2010.
 
The other members charged are Amber Bijou, 22; Bridget Blount, 24; Montressa Hammond, 24; Tymesha Pendleton, 26; Zakiya Shivers, 26, and Monika Young, 23.
 
Pendleton's attorney Jim Papermeister says he doesn't know how his client's name was included on the list of the accused.
 
"She is devastated now because everything she has been working hard for, for many years ... her undergraduate degree, at which she did very well; her Master's degree, which is forthcoming in a couple of months, and she has been accepted into a Ph.D program," Papermeister said.

"The idea of hazing is abhorrent to her," he added.
 
However, according to court documents, Pendleton is identified as one of the sorority members who wielded the oak paddle against McClarin and choked her.
 
"Hazing of any kind is strictly prohibited, and is inconsistent with the principles of the sorority," according to a statement by Zeta Phi Beta spokeswoman Stacye Montez.
 
The sorority, which, according to their website, was founded Jan. 16, 1920, is only one of a long list of sororities and fraternities that have been accused of violent hazing of pledges. In fact, violence has been a part of the initiation process for many of these organizations for decades.
 

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