More disturbing details are unfolding in the Robert Champion hazing investigation.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday by Robert and Pamela Champion alleges Fabulous Coach Bus Line and it’s driver Wendy Millete “frequently participated” in or allowed hazing rituals to take place on the buses she operated, according to CNN.
The 33-page document alleges Millette “breached her duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety and protection of her passengers… and acted in a careless and negligent manner,” according to CNN.
The lawsuit also contains a detailed description on what actually occurred the night of Nov. 19, 2011.
Following the Marching 100’s performance at the Florida Citrus Bowl, the band members began lead other members to the bus for a planned hazing ritual.
Millette allegedly let more than 20 band members from the “Bus C” section onto the bus, according to the suit. Details of the suit, according to CNN, read:
“The ‘Bus C’ initiation consists of ‘pledges’ attempting to run from the front door of the bus to the back of the bus, down the center aisle, while initiated members of the Bus C posse position themselves in between seat rows, launching punches, slaps, kicks, hitting with objects, yelling, or assaults and batteries otherwise upon the ‘pledge’ as he or she runs down the aisle of the bus,” it says.
“Should the ‘pledge’ fall to the bus floor from the blows sustained to his or her body, the ‘pledge’ may be stomped and is then dragged back to the front of the bus, and must begin the ritual again.
“Failure to successfully complete the ‘Bus C’ initiation results in a FAMU Band student being subjected to alienation from social contact, embarrassing public ridicule and mockery, sleep deprivation, and prohibition from talking, eating, drinking, sleeping, smiling, looking around or laughing while a passenger on Bus C or during FAMU Band activities.”
At about 9:30 p.m., Champion was subjected to a number of hazing rituals, including the “Hot Seat,” in which a pillowcase or other object limiting the flow of oxygen was placed over a victim’s head. He is then asked questions by a hazer. “If or when the victim answers a question correctly, the object is briefly lifted to allow a brief flow of oxygen to the victim, and then quickly pulled back down over the victim’s head as another question is asked,” the complaint says. “Should the victim fail to correctly answer the question, the object is not removed and the victim is prevented from inhaling fresh air, before the next question is asked. During this time, the victim is punched, slapped, kicked, or hit otherwise by members of the ‘Bus C’ posse.”
The complaint says that “John Doe 1,” who himself had completed the “Hot Seat” initiation, “opined that the physical and verbal abuse by the initiated upon (Champion) was more brutal than normal.”
When John Doe 1 stood to help Champion, he “was immediately struck back down into the seat and pinned down as the physical abuse continued. …”
Champion was also subjected to the hazing ritual known as “Bus C,” it says. Somewhere between 9:30 p.m. and 9:46 p.m., he “appeared at the doorway of the bus and began vomiting in the parking lot.”
At that point, Millette “advised Decedent that he would be alright as she forced him back onto the bus,” it alleges. There, he was subjected to further physical abuse, it says. “The physical harm suffered by Decedent after being forced back onto the bus cumulatively led to the fatal injuries. …”
At 9:46 p.m., another band member called 911 and said Champion was no longer breathing. He was taken to Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, where he was declared dead less than an hour later.
Cause of death: “Blunt force trauma (sustained) during a hazing incident.”
What are your thoughts on hazing after reading this? Sound off below.
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