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Entries in Bria Hunter (2)

Wednesday
Dec142011

Financial 'Misconduct' Uncovered in Florida A&M Band Hazing Probe

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- A criminal investigation into the alleged hazing death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion has prompted authorities to launch a probe of potential fraud and misconduct at the school.

Champion attended Southwest DeKalb High, as did another Florida A&M student, Bria Hunter, who is suing FAMU after she says she was beaten so badly during a band hazing ritual that her thigh bone was broken.

Both Hunter and Champion, who died Nov. 19 in what police believe was a hazing incident, were members of the band's secretive Red Dawg Order. The group is made up of band members from Georgia, primarily from Atlanta, Ga.

Since Champion's death, the school has launched a task force on hazing and took disciplinary action against the marching band director, Julian White.

The school is now coming under fire for "potential violations of criminal law relating to fraud and/or misconduct by employees of and/or persons associated with Florida A&M University (FAMU)," according to a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement sent Tuesday to both the chancellor of the State University System of Florida and the chairman of FAMU's board of trustees.

The letters did not specify the nature of the violations, but did ask the school to suspend any disciplinary or administrative reviews related to the alleged misconduct. FDLE is now initiating a separate criminal investigation.

Solomon Badger, the chair of the school's board of trustees, said in a statement, "We cannot comment on the investigation, as we have no further details at this time. But we are cooperating fully with this and all investigations."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec132011

Florida A&M Hazing Victim Sues School

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- A freshman Florida A&M student who filed hazing charges against three members of the school's marching band is now suing the school, her attorney announced Tuesday.

Bria Shante Hunter, whose thigh bone was broken in the alleged hazing incident, has been harassed since reporting the beating to band director Julian White, her attorney, B.J. Bernstein, said.

"For any person who is subject to hazing, this is a big reason they do not come forward," said Bernstein.

Bernstein also told reporters the freshman is pulling out of the university because of the incident and forfeiting her $82,000 scholarship.

Hunter, 18, was not present at the afternoon news conference in Bernstein's Atlanta law office as she was completing her last exam, the lawyer said.

The three Florida A&M students accused of beating Hunter appeared in court Tuesday. The judge set a bond of $2,500 for James Harris, 22, who is charged with hazing. Bonds of $10,000 were set for Sean Hobson, 23, and Aaron Golson, 19, who are charged with hazing and felony battery. They posted bail and have been released from jail.

The trio are members of a group called the Red Dawg Order, which includes band members from Georgia, mainly Atlanta. The alleged beating victim, freshman clarinetist Bria Hunter, is from Atlanta.

The criminal hazing charges come as Florida A&M and police are investigating the Nov. 19 death of the band's drum major Robert Champion. Police have said that they believe hazing was involved in Champion's death. Champion, 26, was also from Georgia.

Four unidentified students were dismissed for their role in Champion's hazing death, which occured just three weeks after Hunter was beaten. They have since been reinstated.

FAMU initially fired band director Julian White and later placed him on administrative leave pending the results of the Champion investigation. Last week FAMU's board of trustees reprimanded school president James Ammons for the way he dealt with hazing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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