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Sides Agree to Mediator in Suit Over Hazing Claims

ANNISTON, Ala. — Court records indicate that a lawsuit over alleged hazing at a Jacksonville State University fraternity will be handled outside of court.

The Anniston Star reports that the plaintiff, Jason Horton, and the defendants, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, its JSU chapter and fraternity officials, have agreed to mediation.

Michael Petway, Horton’s attorney, said the agreement gives all parties involved 30 days from Friday to agree on a mediator and 30 days after that to set up the mediation.

Horton maintained that fraternity pledges in 2011 were forced to drink mustard and vodka, struck with eggs and flying objects, and beaten repeatedly with fists and paddles. He vomited all day following the incident and claims that fraternity members discouraged him from seeking medical treatment.

Horton remained in a hospital for 24 days while recovering from his injuries.

Jacksonville State has since closed the university’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha.

In a criminal case stemming from the same incident, a June 4 hearing has been set to consider consolidating the cases against each of the 18 defendants into one case. They face charges of first-degree assault and hazing. Most of the defendants are from Alabama. Two are from the Atlanta area.

Baltimore-based Alpha Phi Alpha is the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans. It was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1906.

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