Kappa Alpha Psi Frat pledge tells of nightly beatings
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
Testimony in Youngstown Municipal Court shed light on the alleged abuse suffered by two men in a hazing ritual by members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
Eight of the men charged with the hazing incidents in the Youngstown State University fraternity were bound over to a Mahoning County grand jury on felony assault charges. Police are still looking for a ninth man — Raheem Satterthwaite, 22, of Illinois Avenue — associated with the case.
All eight men are charged with two counts of felonious assault.
Four of the men — Michael Charles, Jason Anderson, Jairus Ford and Jerome Justice — appeared for the Friday morning hearing but chose to waive their right to a hearing and have the charges automatically sent to the grand jury.
Four others — Lavell Sharp, Trey McCune, Wade Hampton and Edward Robertson — chose to go forward with the hearing with testimony from one of the men listed as a victim in the beatings.
Breylon Stubbs, 22, a YSU sopho-more, said he has known about the fraternity for years and always wanted to be a member. He told the court he learned more about the frat when he came to YSU, but his attempts at pledging were more than he imagined.
Stubbs said he and other pledges were at first made to attend study sessions to learn more about the fraternity and its history.
He said the sessions progressed to nightly rituals in which he and friend and fellow pledge Resean Yancey, 20, were consistently beaten.
“Some nights were worse than others. Some nights we got wood [paddled], and some nights we just got hit with fists,” he said.
Stubbs said the paddling took place regularly. He said he and his friend also were subjected to full-force punches everywhere on the body and beaten with clothes hangers.
Stubbs, a theater major and actor, said he had to go to the hospital twice for his injuries and once collapsed while performing in a play because of injuries sustained during the hazing sessions.
He also recalled the day he took Yancey to an area hospital for treatment.
“We were pretty banged up. We couldn’t go to class. I was pretty banged up, and he was having trouble breathing that day,” he said.
Stubbs told the court he and Yancey were driving in a car shortly after one of the beatings, hit a pothole and Yancey started convulsing and foaming at the mouth. He then took Yancey to a hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator.
Stubbs also told the court that after going to the hospital, he was given a shirt with an “X” on the front that would alert fraternity members to no longer hit him in the chest. All other areas of the body, however, were fair game, he added.
Stubbs identified all four men at the hearing as participants in the reported beatings, but added that Sharp played a limited role in the alleged assaults and also cooked the men breakfast and guided their study sessions.
Attorneys representing the four men asked Stubbs why he returned to the South Side home nightly to endure more abuse and if he was ever told he could not leave.
Stubbs admitted he could have left the house at any time and said he returned because he did not want to leave Yancey unprotected and alone.
Attorneys for the accused men each said the issues in the accusations did not rise to the level of felony charges. One attorney said the charges should be misdemeanor hazing at best.
They asked the court to dismiss the felony charges or reduce them to misdemeanors to be handled at the municipal-court level.
Judge Elizabeth Kobly disagreed with the assessment of the attorneys, sending each case to the grand jury. She also continued the $50,000 bond she earlier imposed on each of the men.