DKE fraternity members

(Top left to right) Joseph Harkrider, Gaston Eymard, Charles Brakenridge, Cade Duckworth. (Bottom left to right) Alexander Rozas, Malcom McNiece, Garrett Sanders

Allegations against nine members of LSU's Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity that surfaced Thursday include ordering pledges to lie face down on a basketball court covered in broken glass while being urinated on. 

Pledges had gasoline poured on them and were forced to submerge themselves in an ice machine wearing nothing but their underwear, according to arrest warrants released Thursday afternoon. Members of the fraternity are also accused of kicking pledges with steel toed boots, attempting to burn them with cigarettes and beating them with a metal pipe.

[Update, 12:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15Two more DKE members arrested; new details revealed in arrest warrants]

The list of alleged horrific offenses resulted in several arrests Thursday after the DKE national organization — one of the oldest fraternities in the nation — announced the sudden closure of its LSU chapter last month. Nine students are accused of hazing and other related offenses. Seven have been arrested so far.

The arrests came amid the university's ongoing quest for increased safety within its Greek system following the hazing death of an LSU freshman in fall 2017, which sparked widespread concern about unsafe practices and lenient penalties for the students responsible.

The arrest report for Cade Duckworth, of Lafayette, includes several of the most egregious alleged instances and police wrote he "seemed to be controlling the situation" during some rituals.

"The victim stated that after he was taken out of the ice machine, he was made to lay in the nearby basketball court. He stated that the basketball court had broken glass all over it, which he was made to lie on top of," the arrest report states. "The victim stated that another pledge was made to lie on the court next to him, face down while they were both sprayed with a hose, had milk crates thrown at them, and were urinated on."

Another victim said he was told to make a table position on his hands and knees while members of the fraternity played dice on his back. They also "attempted to burn him with cigarettes and seemed to be attempting to extinguish their cigarettes on him. The victim stated that he fled the area in order to not get burned."

Other activities described in Duckworth's arrest report and echoed in others involve various forms of abuse using milk crates — such as making pledges do handstands on milk crates and hold a crate filled with ice and cayenne pepper above their heads while standing in a cold shower and looking up, which caused the ice to melt and the pepper to drip into their eyes.

"The cold shower coupled with the cold melting ice was described by one victim as the worst part of the ordeal," police wrote. The ritual was called a "new boy shower."

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And police said this wasn't a one time occurrence — interviews with victims revealed "that many incidents of hazing took place throughout the fall 2018 semester."

In the arrest warrant for Malcolm McNiece, of Baton Rouge, officials wrote McNiece forced pledges to do push-ups while reciting information about the fraternity, and if they misstated information, McNiece kicked the members in the chest with steel-toe boots. Further allegations detail a night where McNiece forced pledges to drink two 40-ounce beers duck-taped to their hands — unable to remove the duck tape until the drinks were gone.

"This was particularly bad for the pledge drinking because he had to throw up in order to finish the drinks," the arrest report says.

The report also lists an instance where pledges stood in a circle to play a "slap game," where they had to slap the person next to them as hard as possible. Fraternity brothers would determine if the slap was hard enough to get out of the circle, or if they needed to continue getting slapped, and slapping others.

Multiple pledges told authorities about a time where McNiece poured gasoline on a pledge, who "had to be rushed up the showers in an effort to wash the gasoline off, (as) the pledge was having trouble seeing because some of the gasoline had gotten in his eyes."

While none of the pledges interviewed directly saw McNiece pour the gasoline, they said it was "well-known fact in the fraternity" that McNiece poured the gasoline. One pledge said he was next to the pledge when it happened, but he "kept his head down as instructed."

McNiece is also accused of forcing a pledge to hold himself over a trash can in an almost handstand, an exercise the fraternity referred to as a "gargoyle," the report says.

"This would cause the pledges head to go into the trash can if his arms became too weak to continue supporting his body weight," the report says.

The arrest report for Gaston Eymard, of Kenner, details a night where Eymard "struck the pledges in the back and face with a silver pipe." A victim said that pledges were instructed to "get tight," meaning stand shoulder to shoulder with their arms locked together.

Once positioned, Eymard "charged into the room, jumped on top of the new members and began punching them" and later struck them with the pipe.

Pledges said that many were injured, visibly with bruises, from that encounter, one calling it the night where, "things got as out of hand as I had ever seen it."

A victim said that after that night he had to lie to his family about the bruises on his face. Authorities later found a metal pipe in a box with paperwork belonging to Eymard, the report says.

Officials also detailed an instance where pledges were forced to eat "New Boy Dessert," which was described as a mixture of different food and liquid that was found in the kitchen of the house. 

Joseph Harkrider, of Zachary, is accused of instructing pledges to steal tarps from a local construction site and bed sheets from Walmart, his arrest report says. The report says the tarp was used for the fraternity's "Jungle Fever" party. The bed sheets were used a banner hung from the house for each LSU football game.

The nine students arrested Thursday were booked into Parish Prison on the following counts:

  • Cade Rain Duckworth, 23, Lafayette: one count each of second-degree battery, attempted second-degree battery and false imprisonment — all felonies, and three counts of misdemeanor criminal hazing.
  • Malcolm Richard McNiece, 23, Baton Rouge: one count of felony second-degree battery and four counts of misdemeanor criminal hazing.
  • Blake Andrew Chalin, 20, Gretna: three counts of misdemeanor criminal hazing.
  • Charles Eugene Brakenridge, 23, Ferriday: one count each of principal to criminal hazing and criminal hazing, representative duty to report — both misdemeanors.
  • Gaston Thomas Eymard, 23, Kenner: one count each of felony second-degree battery and misdemeanor criminal hazing.
  • Shakti P. Gilotra, 22, hometown not provided: one count each of felony second-degree battery and misdemeanor criminal hazing.
  • Alexander Joseph Rozas, 23, Jennings: one count each of principal to criminal hazing and criminal hazing, representative duty to report — both misdemeanors.
  • Garrett Joseph Sanders, 21, Minden: one count each of principal to criminal hazing and criminal hazing, representative duty to report — both misdemeanors.
  • Joseph Dylan Harkrider, 19, Zachary: one count of misdemeanor criminal hazing.

Follow Lea Skene on Twitter, @lea_skene.