Four of the five University of Central Arkansas students arrested for fraternity hazing pleaded not guilty to four hazing charges each in Faulkner County Circuit Court Monday.
Isaiah Christopher Ozuna, 22, also pleaded not guilty to an additional felony battery charge associated with the alleged hazing incident involving the Iota Gamma Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity at UCA.
Deven Dyer, 21, failed to appear before Circuit Judge Mike Maggio in court Monday on his four hazing charges.
The other students implicated are: Kevin Nguyen, 21; Blake Battles, 20; and Rico Spears, 21.
All five students are subject of a no contact order, which was not yet filed with the court when this report was published.
The five were arrested earlier this month after a University of Central Arkansas Police Department investigation into another student’s allegations he was injured in a hazing ritual that involved paddling.
According to the student’s account, Ozuna, dean of pledges, gave him four paddlings.
Police noted the student had red and purple bruises and welts on his buttocks and was in pain. He was seen for medical treatment, according to police.
The victim reported on March 4 he and other pledges, or line brothers, were told to get to the “set house,” where pledges were paddled each week.
The victim said Ozuna was angry because one of the pledges hadn’t shown up the week before for “set.”
The victim also reported the pledges were made to kneel on uncooked rice while being paddled and hit with eggs.
He said he was also slapped in the face.
According to the victim, Ozuna was the one who hit him and that Dyer, Nguyen, Battles and Spears were in the room.
Earlier in UCAPD’s investigation, Battles and Spears told police they were not present for the incident. Battles told police he and Dyer were playing video games, and Spears said he was “with a girl.”
The victim relayed a threat to pledges who reported hazing. He said in a fraternity interest meeting, he was told victims of hazing who reported it could be punished by “Kappa law.”
The Iota Gamma Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi was placed on suspension earlier this month by the Office of Greek Life.
Attempts to reach local and national representatives of the fraternity were unsuccessful, and messages left seeking comment were not returned.
Kappa Alpha Psi was suspended for hazing at Arkansas Tech University in 2012, where The Courier News reported an incident involving a student who was paddled or hazed in a similar fashion.
The student was hospitalized for several weeks as a result of his injuries and in a coma for a brief time.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)