7 charged in hazing case

LEXINGTON, S.C. - Seven University of South Carolina students have been charged with hazing and will face disciplinary proceedings, school and law enforcement officials said Thursday.

The men are accused of beating another man with fists, a wooden paddle and a metal bat. They also are accused of choking the man during a fraternity initiation at an off-campus apartment near West Columbia in October.

The Phi Beta Sigma fraternity had been suspended at the university since October "based on information we received about possible hazing," university spokesman Russ McKinney said Thursday. That suspension will continue, and the seven men charged will enter the university's disciplinary process, Mr. McKinney said.

Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said detectives this week arrested Brandon Jerraud Barnes, 21, of Columbia; Brandon Jamal Bomar, 23, of Woodruff; Brandon Elijah Bradley, 22, of Dalzell; Peter Christopher Gaskins, 22, of Lake City; William Levern Henryhand, 21, of Lake City; Travis Reuben Sheffield, 24, of Georgetown; and Larry Bernard Singleton Jr., 22, of North Charleston.

Each was charged with hazing, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in prison and a $500 fine.