7 Ole Miss fraternity brothers charged with cyberstalking linked to alleged hazing

OXFORD, Miss. — Seven University of Mississippi students have been charged with felony cyberstalking following a monthlong investigation that resulted in their dismissals and their fraternity’s suspension from the Oxford, Mississippi campus.

The Pi Kappa Alpha members are accused of sending harassing emails and texts to a former fraternity member who reported hazing at the fraternity house in the fall, WHBQ reported.

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Officials with the Lafayette County Detention Center confirmed to the Clarion Ledger that Baylor Reynolds, Christian Parten, Cole Goretski, Miles Baker, Peyton Newcomb, Walker Holden and Wyatt Johnson were released on $5,000 bond after an initial court appearance.

According to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office, their next court date is scheduled for Feb. 28, the newspaper reported.

All seven had been suspended by the university in November, WHBQ reported.

Ole Miss spokesperson Lisa Stone told the TV station that the university is aware of the charges, reviewing the matter internally and cooperating with the investigators.

“Hazing and related behavior, including cyberstalking, that put student health and safety at risk are contrary to the University of Mississippi creed and will not be tolerated,” Stone said in a prepared statement.

According to WHBQ, all operations of Ole Miss’ Gamma Iota chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha were suspended until May 1, 2025.

Pi Kappa Alpha’s Gamma Iota chapter was already on probation in the fall in connection with a hazing incident in the fall of 2020 in which several pledges going through initiation had bleach sprayed in their mouths or on their faces, the Ledger reported.

According to the newspaper, the former fraternity member who reported the November 2021 incident had bleach sprayed into his mouth during the 2020 hazing incident and reported the November incident after seeing photos of the hazing on social media.

Robyn Yerger, the mother of the 20-year-old whistleblower, confirmed to the Ledger that her son received text messages from fraternity members containing violence, racism and anti-semitic content after the 2021 incident was reported.

Meanwhile, James Bowes Higgins, the student accused of spraying bleach into the 20-year-old’s mouth, was indicted in May for aggravated assault, the newspaper reported.