FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) - The fun times appear to be finished at a college frat where members now stand accused of hazing. The crackdown happened at Longwood University in Farmville.
17 people were rounded up early Wednesday morning in the area's largest anti-hazing bust in recent memory.
According to court documents, the investigation centered on a single-level house on South Virginia Street, on the outskirts of campus. Wednesday morning, police seized a torch and branding iron, along with a wooden paddle...all in connection with alleged hazing within the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Rho Kappa chapter.
Dr. Tim Pierson is vice president of student affairs at Longwood University.
"We are devastated that that would need to happen on our campus," Pearson said.
Word spread quickly, where students were mostly stunned by the 17 arrests.
"Don't like it too much at all. There are a lot of guys in there who are good guys," said Joshua Dutton.
"It does sound very out of character, so I was a little surprised about that," said Kevin Byrne.
"I'm not gonna judge anybody on what happened, it's just rumors right now," added Desiree Berrios.
Campus police won't elaborate on what they believe took place. They do say the injuries were not serious. There's also no evidence of alcohol use, but marijuana was taken from the house where the abuse allegedly took place, according to court documents.
Authorities say they don't mean to step on tradition.
"But if you decide to go overboard, and we can find a way to determine and detect that, we're gonna come and hold you accountable," said Chief Robert Beach of Longwood University Police.
Hazing is a class one misdemeanor. TKE frat activities at the school have now been suspended. The accused were all released on a summons...back on campus, but facing an uncertain future.
"We're dealing with young adults. And these young folks are responsible for their behaviors, and that's one of the difficult lessons that some of these folks are gonna be facing," Pearson said.
In addition to a maximum of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, the students accused of being involved face possible suspension or expulsion if found guilty.
The following students and former students were charged, according to campus police:
Richard Shawn Barden
Bryan Taylor Jellerson
Joseph Robert Orr
Patrick Scott Sawyer
Christopher Michael Storey
David Andrew Dalton
Eric Michael Himes
Conner Patrick Bowen
Kyle Mason Cox
Jarrett Murphy Sweeney
Timothy Steven Quigley
Matthew Robert Fife
Gregory Ian Feitel
John Michael Jennison
Charles Nicholas Stetson
Brandi Ellen Maitland Stetson