Former VSU student sues Phi Beta Sigma over alleged hazing abuse

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR)— A former Virginia State University student is seeking more than one million dollars in damages against Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and its local VSU chapter, along with five of its members.

A fourteen page lawsuit re-filed in Chesterfield Circuit Court details the claims of abuse.

Christopher Rudder alleges in the lawsuit that he was punched, kicked in the groin and neck with a boot and also paddled by fraternity members during his pledge process in 2009.

The suit claims he was paddled so hard on his bottom he had to undergo surgery to repair the physical damage.   The suit claims that the alleged abuse went on for more than a month. The former student claims he was also forced to eat unknown materials and had hot sauce poured on his genitals.

He says he ended up in the hospital and was forced to drop out of school because of the emotional trauma that overwhelmed him.

CBS 6 News spoke with some current VSU students and they shared their thoughts on news of the lawsuit.

“If you are pledging, I understand that to certain people being in a frat is a big deal, but if it’s being taken too far and you are physically harmed, I don’t’ think it’s worth it,” Joseph Milton said.

According to the lawsuit, the alleged hazing happened almost nightly at a home on Slagle Avenue, off campus, in Petersburg.

It says the alleged abuse went on for more than a month. The former student claims he was
beaten with a paddle, forced to eat unknown materials and had hot sauce poured on his genitals. He says he ended up in the hospital and was forced to drop out of school because of the emotional trauma that overwhelmed him.

Rudder’s attorney, Scott Bucci says he’ll move to merge this lawsuit with a companion lawsuit in the case that names the fraternity and five more of its members, so a jury can settle it all at once.

CBS 6 News reached out to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and a national spokesperson, Daryl Anderson declined to comment on pending litigation.

Right now, the case is set for trial in January. CBS 6 News will continue to follow this story and bring you the latest.

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