The indictment, filed by a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, focuses on the treatment of one University of Houston student in particular who was pledging the fraternity. During the "brutal three-day rite," the student was forced to roll around in vomit, spit and feces while also going without food, drink or sleep through much of the initiation process.
Following his bodily fluids ordeal, the Pi Kappa Alpha pledge was told to run along a darkened rural road while holding a glow stick in what is reportedly called the "green light game," according to prosecutors. After running on the road for some time, the pledge was then unexpectedly tackled by fraternity members dressed in dark clothes.
The unidentified pledge was later hospitalized, as the body slam resulted in a lacerated spleen.
"Brotherhood and collegiate good times should be safe, and hazing is not," District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement. "It is also illegal, and that should be recognized by the dozens of fraternities and sororities on college campuses all over the Houston area."
Though the indictment does not criminally charge a specific member, it does subject Pi Kappa Alpha to a fine of up to $10,000 and the organization, Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity Inc., to a hazing conviction that includes mental and physical abuse.
While the organization said that it "does not tolerate hazing, maltreatment of members, or any activities that do not treat individuals with dignity and respect," it later noted that the alleged hazing incident took place within its now-defunct Epsilon Eta chapter, one of more than 200 chapters operating under the Pi Kappa Alpha flagship.
Following the announcement of the indictment, officials from the University of Houston released their own statement praising the "stern message" sent by the grand jury, KTRK reported.
"We are grateful that our county partners have delivered a stern message through the grand jury's decision against the fraternity, that such behavior, which jeopardizes the well-being of our students, will not be tolerated," the statement read. "We take seriously our responsibility to train our fraternities and sororities to adhere to University policy and laws against hazing and the need to conduct themselves in a safe manner."
Pi Kappa Alpha has been suspended from the Houston campus until 2023.