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The Investigators: Ole Miss student injured in alleged hazing incident, suspect charged

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 11:30 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A University of Mississippi student is charged with aggravated assault after an alleged hazing incident involving an Ole Miss fraternity.

The alleged victim’s attorney says his client suffered serious injuries to his esophagus and may need surgery after bleach or some other type of cleaner was sprayed in his mouth.

A 20-year-old transfer student says through his attorney he was pledging the Pi Kappa Alpha or “Pike” Fraternity at Ole Miss last fall.

An Ole Miss police report shows investigators were told that last October a group of fraternity pledges were blindfolded at a house and asked to sit in a hallway.

The report states an active member of the fraternity “grabbed a bottle of bleach or surface cleaner and started spraying it on a few pledges.” Some of those men vomited, one was taken to the hospital after the substance got into his eyes.

We’ve learned the transfer student was also allegedly sprayed in the mouth and suffered burns to his throat. He still cannot eat most solid foods.

The WMC Action News 5 Investigators spoke with the alleged victim’s mom who says her son has a lifelong battle on his hands.

James Bowes Higgins was charged with aggravated assault in February in connection with the incident that occurred last fall.

A statement from Ole Miss reads in part:

“One student has been suspended from the university and sanctions have been placed against Pike’s Ole Miss chapter.”

Pike, whose headquarters is located in Memphis, said in a statement they support the student who was hurt as he’s currently a member.

The Investigators spoke with the alleged victim’s attorney who says legal action is being prepared on his behalf to hold any of the students accountable who may have participated in his hazing incident.

The student arrested in the incident – James Bowes Higgins – faces a felony charge.

The Associated Press reports the attorney listed for Higgins in court records did not respond to an email or phone message.

Once we’re able to reach Higgins’ legal representation, we will update this story.

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